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Literacy, Emotion and Authority : Reading and Writing on a Polynesian Atoll - Niko Besnier

Literacy, Emotion and Authority

Reading and Writing on a Polynesian Atoll

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Published: 9th October 2012
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Literacy continues to be a central issue in anthropology, but methods of perceiving and examining it have changed in recent years. In this study Niko Besnier analyses the transformation of Nukulaelae from a non-literate into a literate society using a contemporary perspective which emphasizes literacy as a social practice embedded in a socio-cultural context. He shows how a small and isolated Polynesian community, with no access to print technology, can become deeply steeped in literacy in little more than a century, and how literacy can take on radically divergent forms depending on the social and cultural needs and characteristics of the society in which it develops. His case study, which has implications for understanding literacy in other societies, illuminates the relationship between norm and practice, between structure and agency, and between group and individual.

"...exceptionally rich in its fine reviews of both theory and case material in the anthropology of literacy, in its deep treatment of the situation on Nukulaelae, and in its demonstration of the way in which attention to literacy permits engagement with major anthropological issues about the construction of person and society. The book is well produced, with glossary and index, and is illustrated with maps and photographs...it would be appropriate in a wide range of upper-division and graduate courses." Journal of Anthropological Research "...Besnier has given us a rich appreciation of how literacy interacts with social categories and communicative processes on Nukulaelae and beyond." Sarah Lund Skar, Anthropological Quarterly "I certainly hope that Besnier's response to this criticism is to say that these data will be the subject of future ethnographic analyses, work that I look forward to wth great interest and high expectations." Richard J. Parmentier, American Anthropologist "Niko Besnier's Literacy, emotion, and authority is a brilliant and painstaking ethnographic study of literacy on Nukulaelae Atoll Tuvalu (formerly the Ellice Islands." Kenneth M. George, Cultural Survival Quarterly "Besnier's volume masterfully negotiates the complexities of textual analysis, meticulous contextualization of literacy practices within a framework of affiliated oral communication." Larry Lake, The Contemporary Pacific "Niko Besnier's Literacy, emotion and authority is abrilliant and painstaking ethnographic study of literacy on Nukulaelae Atoll, Tuvalu (formerly Ellice Islands)...Niko Besnier has produced a probing and exceedingly useful study of the highest caliber." Kenneth M. George, Cultural Survival Quarterly

Introduction
The ethnographic context
The domains of reading and writing
Letter writing and reading
Letters, economics and emotionality
Between literacy and orality: the sermon
Literacy, truth and authority
Conclusion
Table of Contents provided by Publisher. All Rights Reserved.

ISBN: 9780521480871
ISBN-10: 0521480876
Series: Studies in the Social and Cultural Foundations of Language
Audience: Professional
Format: Hardcover
Language: English
Number Of Pages: 256
Published: 9th October 2012
Publisher: Cambridge University Press
Country of Publication: GB
Dimensions (cm): 22.8 x 15.2  x 1.6
Weight (kg): 0.51