AA  Vol.3 No.4 A , November 2013
Literacy, Ethnicity and Style

I present the result of a two-year research project developed at the “Instituto de Estudos de Linguagem” (IEL/Unicamp, Brazil) and also of action research I have been organizing since 2006 when I started to work as a professor at the “Universidade Federal de Sao Carlos”, in Brazil. Relying on recent developments in New Literacy Studies, I explore the concept of the continuum illiterate-literate and argue that it implies elements of transformation, as well as conservation. I also argue that three intersecting continua must be considered together: the continua oral-written, rural-urban and restricted-full literacy, always taking into consideration ethnicity as a variable (Cohen, 1974). Drawing on ethnographic fieldwork in Brazil, I show how elements of restricted literacy (Goody, 1968) are presented on the threshold of the twenty first century; how they entertain relation with the rural to urban migration and with a marked contrast between different ethnicities; and in what sense this fact may be visible in the everyday use of language and in the inherent in it.

Cite this paper: Cintra, M. (2013). Literacy, Ethnicity and Style. Advances in Anthropology, 3, 7-12. doi: 10.4236/aa.2013.34A002.

[1]   Bakhtin, M. (1981). The dialogical imagination. Austin, TX: University of Texas Press.

[2]   Bakhtin, M. (1986). The problem of speech genres. In Speech genres and other late essays (pp. 60-102). Austin: University of Texas Press.

[3]   Barton, D., & Hamilton, M. (1998). Local literacies: Reading and writing in one community. London and New York: Routledge.

[4]   Bortoni-Ricardo, S. M. (1985). The urbanization of rural dialect speakers: A sociolinguistic study in Brazil. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.

[5]   Cameron, D. et al. (1992). Researching language: Issues of power and method. London/New York: Routledge.

[6]   Cardoso de Oliveira, R. (2006). Etnicidade, eticidade e globalizacao. In O trabalho do antropólogo (pp. 169-188). Sao Paulo: Editora UNESP.

[7]   Certeau, M. (1980). L’invention du quotidien: Arts de faire. Paris: Gallimard.

[8]   Cohen, A. (1974). Two-dimensional man: An essay on the anthropology of power and symbolism in complex society. Berkeley: University of California Press.

[9]   Cohen, A. (1974). Urban ethnicity. London: Tavistock Publications Limited.

[10]   Cook-Gumperz, J. (2006). The social construction of literacy. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.

[11]   Fairclough, N. (1992). Discourse and social change. Cambridge: Polity Press.

[12]   Fairclough, N. (1995). Critical discourse analysis. London: Longman.

[13]   Fairclough, N. (2003). Analysing discourse: Text analysis for social research. London: Routledge.

[14]   Foucault, M. (2002). The archaeology of knowledge. London: Routledge.

[15]   Freire, P. (1972). Pedagogy of the oppressed. London: Penguin.

[16]   Gee, J. P. (l990). Social linguistics and literacies: Ideology in discourses. London: The Falmer Press.

[17]   Goffman, E. (1959). The presentation of self in everyday life. New York: Doubleday Anchor.

[18]   Goffman, E. (1963). Stigma: Notes on the management of spoiled identity. Englewood Cliffs, NJ: Prentice-Hall.

[19]   Goody, J. (1968). Literacy in traditional societies. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.

[20]   Heath, S. B. (1983). Ways with words: Language, life and work in communities and classrooms. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.

[21]   Kalman, J. (2004). Saber lo que es la letra: Una experiencia de lectoescritura con mujeres de Mixquic. Mexico: Siglo Veintiuno.

[22]   Lotman, J. (2005). On the semiosphere. Sign Systems Studies, 33, 205-229.

[23]   Luria, A. R. (1979). The making of mind. Cambridge, MA and London: Harvard University Press.

[24]   Martins, M. S. C. (2007). Ethos, gêneros e questoes identitárias. Revista Delta, 23, 27-43.

[25]   Martins, M. S. C. (2011). Letramento, etnicidade e diálogo intercultural. Revista Delta, 27, 77-98.

[26]   Street, B. (1993). Cross-cultural approaches to literacy. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.

[27]   Thiollent, M. (1986). Metodologia da pesquisa-acao. Sao Paulo: Cortez.

[28]   Voloshinov, V. I. (1973). Marxism and the philosophy of language. New York: Seminar Press.

[29]   Vygotsky, L. S. (1985). Thought and language. Cambridge, MA: The MIT Press.