The Relationship between Literacy and ower: The Case of Literacy Practices in and out of School in Karagwe, Tanzania

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Publication year: 2005
Relevant Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs):
SDG 16 Peace, justice and strong institutionsSDG 4 Quality education
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Abstract LITERACY AND POWER IN TANZANIA AND SWEDEN In my research I focus on literacy as a socially and culturally situated practise. This perspective on literacy has been mainly developed within an ethnographic research framework, both to contest and to complement the more traditional psychological and cognitive approaches which have been prominent in educational contexts. In my research on literacy practices in homes, in primary school and in the community in Karagwe district in the north-west of Tanzania I have been able to show that different types of literacy practices relate differently to power. Through history authorities and traditional elites have used literacy to maintain and to reproduce their authority while, at the same time, some women and young people have been able to get access to power through literacy. This shows us that the relationship between literacy and power is complex. I argue that literacy has the potential to be a tool for democracy, but only if different social and ethnic groups have equal access to literacy and if they also have the right to decide what literacy practices should be valued.


Åsa Wedin

Högskolan Dalarna; Svenska språket
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