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Ethnographies of literacy: an Anglo-French dialogue

May 29, 2008

By John Postill

This event is now over, but I think it is worth noting it on this media/ anthropology blog given the parallel histories of the anthropologies of literacy and media (Bloch 2003, Postill 2003, Street 2006).

BAAL Linguistic Ethnography Forum: ‘ethnographies of literacy: an Anglo-French dialogue’

Lancaster, 8 May 2008

Both France and Britain have substantial traditions of ethnographic research on literacy. But it is only recently that links have begun to be made between researchers in the two countries through a seminar “Ecriture & literacy” organised by the Ecole des Hautes Etudes en Sciences Sociales in Paris, June 2007. Such initial contacts have revealed significant and previously largely unexplored parallels between the two traditions. The forthcoming seminar “Ethnographies of literacy: an Anglo-French dialogue” will explore shared issues of interest, including personal writings and writing as the interface between the institution and the individual.



Bloch, M. (2003) Literacy: A reply to John Postill.  Social Anthropology   11, 101-102

Postill, J. (2003) ‘ Knowledge, literacy, and media among the Iban of Sarawak: a reply to Maurice Bloch’, in Social Anthropology, Vol 11, no. 1, 79-100; full article

Street, B. (2006) Autonomous versus ideological models of literacy. Paper to the EASA Media Anthropology Network e-Seminar, 17-24 January 2006; see also e-seminar transcript.




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