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Literacy, Narrative and Culture : World of Writing - David R. Olson

Literacy, Narrative and Culture

World of Writing

By: David R. Olson (Editor), Jens Brockmeier (Editor), Min Wang (Editor)

Hardcover Published: 31st January 2002
ISBN: 9780700714971
Number Of Pages: 314

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An important contribution to the multi-disciplinary study of literacy, narrative and culture, this work argues that literacy is perhaps best described as an ensemble of socially and historically embedded activities of cultural practices. It suggests viewing written language, producing and distributing, deciphering and interpreting signs, are closely related to other cultural practices such as narrative and painting.


The papers of the first and second parts illustrate this view in contexts that range from the pre-historical beginnings of tracking signs' in hunter-gatherer cultures, and the emergence of modern literate traditions in Europe in the 17th to 19th century, to the future of electronically mediated writing in times of the post-Gutenberg galaxy. The chapters of the third present results of recent research in developmental and educational psychology.


Contributions by leading experts in the field make the point that there is no theory and history of writing that does not presuppose a theory of culture and social development. At the same time, it demonstrates that every theory and history of culture must unavoidably entail a theory and history of writing and written culture.


This book brings together perspectives on literacy from psychology, linguistics, history and sociology of literature, philosophy, anthropology, and history of art. It addresses these issues in plain language - not coded in specialized jargon - and addresses a multi-disciplinary forum of scholars and students of literacy, narrative and culture.

Introduction: What is a culture of literacy?p. 1
The literacy episteme: The rise and fall of a cultural discoursep. 17
Literacy and the future of writing: An integrational perspectivep. 35
The construction of mind and self in an interpretive communityp. 52
Hunting, tracking, and readingp. 67
Narrative distancing: A foundation of literacyp. 86
Letters and pictures in seventeenth-century educationp. 97
Painters and literacyp. 110
"Dumb significants" and Early Modern English definitionp. 131
The spread of culture: Subscription libraries in France in the nineteenth centuryp. 155
The essay as a literary and academic form: Closed gate or open door?p. 170
Writing as a form of quotationp. 187
Children's conceptions of name: A study on metalinguistic awareness in Italian childrenp. 199
The distinction between graphic system and orthographic system and their pertinence for understanding the acquisition of orthographyp. 215
Children's analysis of oral and written wordsp. 229
Young children's "clever misunderstandings" about printp. 245
Literacy and metalinguistic thought: Development through knowledge construction and cultural mediationp. 266
Making new or making do: Epistemological, normative and pragmatic aspects of reading a textp. 283
Contributorsp. 301
Subject Indexp. 303
Name Indexp. 309
Table of Contents provided by Blackwell. All Rights Reserved.

ISBN: 9780700714971
ISBN-10: 0700714979
Series: World of Writing
Audience: Tertiary; University or College
Format: Hardcover
Language: English
Number Of Pages: 314
Published: 31st January 2002
Country of Publication: GB
Dimensions (cm): 23.83 x 16.46  x 2.97
Weight (kg): 0.64
Edition Number: 1