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Changing literacies in the knowledge-based economy?

Date: 4-5 May 2006 Time: See draft prog

How does the development of a knowledge-based economy change literacy practices? Ethnographic studies of workplaces have shown how changing work practices such as flatter hierarchies, work teams and the increasing requirements of an audit culture put more and different kinds of literacy demands on people. The introduction of new communications technologies, and rapid changes associated with them, have changed the nature of the literacies which people engage in, with a shift to multimodal texts changing the nature of the semiotic resources people draw on.

Such changes have significant implications. For instance, in education, pedagogical thinking needs to consider how students' use of reading and writing is changing and needs to change, both to reflect the different practices tomorrow's workers will be expected to engage in, and to enable critique. There are also implications for communicative practices more broadly, with claims that the very nature of communication is changing. Some claim that shifts in literacy practices, such as greater access to the production and distribution of texts, are linked to changes in power relationships with possibly profound democratic effects. Others claim that changes in literacies serve only to perpetuate existing social inequalities. This workshop will serve as a space to debate these and related issues.

We have produced a background paper for the workshop.

You can download the draft programme and abstracts here.

The following draft papers can be downloaded for reading:

Hermine Scheeres: 'Knowledge on the Line' (keynote paper)

Anna-Malin Karlsson: 'Reading to be independent, writing to be controlled?'

Mary Hamilton: 'Putting Words in their Mouths' (this one is a pdf file)

For further details or to express an interest in participating, please contact David Barton or Karin Tusting.

Event website:


Who can attend:


Further information

Organising departments and research centres: Lancaster Literacy Research Centre


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Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences
Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences
Lancaster University
Lancaster LA1 4YD
United Kingdom

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