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IAS Workshop - Changing literacies in the Knowledge-Based Economy

Date: 04-05 May 2006

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Workshop: Changing literacies in the knowledge-based economyInstitute for Advanced Studies, Lancaster University

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 served as a space to debate these and related issues.

More detailed background information in available in the background paper for the workshop.

Event website:


Who can attend:


Further information

Associated staff: David Barton

Organising departments and research centres: Institute for Advanced Studies, Lancaster Literacy Research Centre

Keyword: Literacy


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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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