Literacy and Society with Particular Reference to the Non-Western World

Authored by: Philip Foster , Alan Purves

Handbook of Reading Research

Print publication date:  March  2016
Online publication date:  April  1996

Print ISBN: 9781138834262
eBook ISBN: 9780203447772
Adobe ISBN: 9781136610745

10.4324/9780203447772.ch2

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Abstract

In the past several decades there has been an increasing interest in the relationship between predominantly oral cultures and those with substantial literacy. This concern has arisen within a variety of disciplines, most notably anthropology and psychology, although literary critics, rhetoricians, and linguists have also been involved. The reasons behind this interest are many, among them the decline in absolute number of nonliterate cultures; the rise of new “oral” technologies that have been seen to threaten the written culture; an atmosphere of neo-Rousseauian anti-imperialism that has called into question the colonizing of societies and the imposition on those cultures; and an increasing realization that the most revolutionary of human inventions was written— and particularly alphabetic—language.

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