GOVERNING LITERACY: A CRITICAL DISCOURSE ANALYSIS OF THE UNITED NATIONS DECADES OF LITERACY, 1990-2000 AND 2003-2012
Lauritsen, Josie Ann
Using critical discourse analysis (CDA), this study examines constructs of literacy and literacy education embedded in policy documents related to the United Nations Decades of Literacy (1990-2000 and 2003-2012) and argues that two important shifts related to discourse occur between the policies. The first shift is manifest in the construction of literacy as a concept and reflects the rising influence of New Literacy Studies (NLS), a body of research that emphasizes the plural, contextual, "ideological" (Street, 1993) nature of literacy as social practice. The second shift is marked by the intensification of the discourse of "new capitalism" (Fairclough, 2003; Gee, Hull, & Lankshear, 1996), which focuses on the societalization of economic globalization. In the "interdiscursive" (Fairclough, 2003) relationship between these two shifts, the discourse of new capitalism circumscribes features of the emerging "ideological" constructs of literacy, steering the policy's agenda toward neo-liberalist ends. In clarifying discursive relationships in these influential policies, this study contributes to an emerging body of scholarship (see Street, 2003) that connects socio-cultural models of literacy to the discursive production of meaning in institutional literacy work.
literacy; critical discourse analysis
dissertation or thesis