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The Making of Literate Societies

David R. Olson (Editor), Nancy Torrance (Editor)
ISBN: 978-0-631-22743-4
368 pages
August 2001, Wiley-Blackwell
The Making of Literate Societies (0631227431) cover image


This volume provides a systematic analysis of the role of literacy in social development, and advances a set of directions that governments and other agencies should take in designing their literacy programmes.
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Table of Contents

Preface. .

Part I: On Being a Literate Society: Conceptual and Historical Perspectives on Literacy.

1. Conceptualizing Literacy as a Personal Skill and as a Social Practice (David R. Olson and Nancy Torrance).

2. The Roles of Literacy Practices in the Activities and Institutions of Developed and Developing Countriesm (Armin Triebel).

3. Societal Literacy: Writing Culture and Development (Georg Elwert.).

4. Literacy in Ancient Greece: Functional Literacy, Oral Education and the Development of a Literate Environment (Rosalind Thomas).

5. Literacy in Germany (Utz Maas).

6. Literacy in Japan: Kanji, Kana, Romaji and Bits (Florian Coulmas).

Part II: On Becoming a Literate Society: Literacy in Developing Societies..

African Case Studies.

7. Language, Literacy, the Production and Reproduction of Knowledge, and the Challenge of African Development (Kwesi K. Prah).

8. Literacy and Literature in National Languages in Benin and Burkina-Faso (Joseph Akoha).

9. Constructive Interdependence: The Response of a Senegalese Community to the Question of Why Become Literate (Sonja Fagerberg-Diallo).

10. Literacy for Gonja and Birifor Children in Northern Ghana (Esther Goody).

Central and South American Case Studies.

11. Literacy and Intercultural Bilingual Education in the Andes (Luis Enrique López.).

12. The Uses of Orality and Literacy in Rural Mexico: Tales from Xaltipan (Elsie Rockwell).

Asian Case Studies.

13. Developing a Literate Tradition in Six Marginal Communities in the Philippines: Interrelations of Literacy, Education and Social Development (Maria Luisa Canieso-Doronila).

14. Issues of Literacy Development in the Indian Context (Chander Daswani.).

15. Women and Empowerment Through Literacy (Malini Ghose).

Part III: Conclusion: From Research to Policy.

16. Literacy and Social Development: Policy and Implementation (Ingrid Jung and Adama Ouane).

Name Index.

Subject Index.

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Author Information

David R. Olson is University Professor and Professor of Applied Cognitive Science at the Ontario Institute for Studies in Education of the University of Toronto.

Nancy Torrance is Senior Research Officer at the International Centre for Educational Change at the Ontario Institute for Studies in Education of the University of Toronto.

David R. Olson and Nancy Torrance edited the Blackwell Handbook of Education and Human Development (Blackwell Publishers, 1995).

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The Wiley Advantage

  • Charts the relations between personal literacy and 'societal' literacy

  • Uses case studies from 'literate' and developing societies to look at the role of literacy in social development

  • Leads to the formulation of a statement of policy as to the directions that governments and other agencies should take in designing literacy programmes.

  • The compilation is driven by the vision that literacy allows every society to understand itself and therefore shape its own future
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"...The Making of Literate Societies is a superb reference book on the relationship between literacy and social development."
European Association of Anthropologists Journal
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