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E801: Action 1.17: Illiteracy, literacy and social inequality

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Action 1.17: Illiteracy, Literacy and Social Inequality

Payne, G. (2006) Recounting 'illiteracy': literacy skills in the sociology of social inequality. In Solar, J., Fletcher-Campbell, F. & Reid, G. (2009) Understanding Difficulties in Literacy Development: Issues and Concepts. London, Sage.

Terms already encountered:

  • Functional literacy - low levels of literacy/numeracy for tackling specific social tasks - social definition
  • Moser (1999)- tested domains (prose, document, usage, numeracy) in 'real-life' material
  • New Literacy Studies

New ideas

  • Post modernism led to social perspective
  • Reaction to NLS (Brandt & Clinton, 2002)
  • Literacy not investigated in sociological research
  • Moral panic over literacy rates
  • Formal qualifications determine entry to middle class occupations
  • Normative literacy - literacy presented as skill of concerned citizen, responsible member of the community, useful employee - deficit view
  • Adult = 16-65 (working age); limited info on gender or ethnicity


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