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Language, identity and belonging in Mirpur and Lancashire Tony Capstick

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1 Language, identity and belonging in Mirpur and Lancashire Tony Capstick

2 COLT Conference November 2009 PhD aims and timeframe New Literacy Studies Transnational literacies and Multi-sited ethnography Language and education: a case study The New Approach to ESOL Low level literacy in L1 and ESOL Research Questions

3 PhD in Applied Linguistics Timeframe November 2009 – June 2010: Mirpur October 2010 – June 2011: Manchester June 2011 – July 2010: Writing up Aims: To incorporate a literacy practices perspective to language-in-education research in the UK in order to understand multilingual literacies in terms of social theory (Street 1984) To contribute to literacy research in Pakistan where there is no indication of literacy levels in particular languages by asking questions such as which languages are used by whom, where and when, and for what purposes? What are the levels of fluency in particular languages and amongst which communities? (Rassool 2007)

4 “ Language, literacy and communication are intrinsic to human development; they are the means by which social meaning is produces and shared, and cultures make and re-make themselves” (Rassool 2004:3) Problematising literacy and presenting evidence that literacy and schooling interventions do not always lead to greater equality or positive social change (Holland and Skinner 2008) The ‘skills view’ of literacy New Literacy Studies and a ‘situated’ view of literacy: multiple literacies and a continuum between literacy and orality (Robinson-Pant 2008) Ethnographic perspectives on literacy

5 Literacy practices Literacy is something people do There are many different forms of literacy: literacies What people do with literacy is part of a broader activity they engage in. It is these activities that give meaning to people’s reading and writing. If we want to understand what literacy is about, we need to look at the social activities of which literacy is a part (Papen 2005)

6 Literacy events “Any occasion in which a piece of writing is integral to the nature of the participant’s interaction and their interpretive process” (Heath 1983:50)

7 A New Literacy Studies Framework Literacy is best understood as a set of social practices, these can be inferred from events which are mediated by written texts There are different literacies associated with different domains of life Literacy practices are patterned by social institutions and power relationships, and some literacy practices are more dominant, visible and influential than others Literacy practices are purposeful and embedded in broader social goals and cultural practices Literacy is historically situated Literacy practices change and new ones are frequently acquired through processes of informal learning and sense-making (Barton and Hamilton 2000:8)

8 Transnational literacies Global-local connections Anthropology and cultural studies How everyday practices produce cultural meanings that sustain transnational networks Transnational: “the condition of cultural interconnectedness and mobility across space (Ong 1999) What literacy practices do transmigrants develop while adapting to new contexts and what resources are used in doing so? How do individuals and communities use literacy practices to maintain and transform transnational social relations? In what ways to new literacy practices index shifting local- global connections, shifting relations and the transformation of identities? (Warriner 2007)

9 Multi-sited ethnography Ethnography moves from its conventional single- site location to multiple sites of observation and participation that cross-cut dichotomies such as local and global Ethnographic research that looks at the social grounds that produce a particular discourse of policy requires different practices than does fieldwork amongst situated communities such policy affects (Marcus 1995)

10 Multilingual literacies in North Manchester Interviewer: Why is that your sons cannot speak Urdu? Maha: I think maybe because they [Maha’s daughters] are both close with me. I teach them write when they are small. I tell them writing and read as well. They good everything books as well at home. Interviewer: Where did you get the books from? Maha: I bring from Pakistan. I bring from Pakistan. When first time remember I told you after 10 years I went to see my mother my mother give me she says you have to teach your children these books to take these books with you and you teach your children. And she write as well. After school one or two hour every day I teach them.

11 Intergenerational trajectories Tanzeela: Now if I see someone speaking Urdu really really well and very very articulate like a politician on TV speaking Urdu really really well I would admire I would say that’s an intelligent man speaking very well Mohseen: Not someone from Bolton speaking Urdu you’d think backwards. Tanzeela: No not... I’m talking about when we were little kids... now I wouldn’t be so judgmental about someone...

12 The strength of cultural and religious affiliations comes and goes over time (Saxena 2000) Mohseen: the race riots when I was growing up. Even in Burnage where I was educated it was very much there was the white kids and there was the Asian kids and um our culture was very alien to them you know and I don’t think I you know I think I feel whiter now (slight laugh) than I was when I was growing up but yeah you know it was very alien and we were the underclass Interviewer: Right OK Mohseen: And you know I think to be honest I think I associate learning Urdu and getting into all that as why do I want to go backwards?

13 The New Approach to ESOL We agree that a national list of priority groups would not be helpful. However, to ensure that we achieve our aim of strengthening the role of ESOL in supporting community cohesion, the key characteristics of priority individuals should be that they: have poor or no English language skills are isolated/excluded from, and not connecting with, communities outside their own; are currently not accessing or are under-represented in learning provision, or are not progressing in their learning; are those on the path to British citizenship who are seeking to meet the English language requirements for settlement/permanent residence, probationary citizenship (when it is introduced), and British Citizenship; are genuine refugees given protection by the UK Government. (DIUS 2009:10)

14 References Barton and Hamilton (2000) Literacy Practices. In Barton, D., Hamilton, M. and Ivanic, R. (eds) Situated Literacies: Reading and writing in context. Oxford: Routledge, pp. 7-15. Department for Innovation, Universities, and Skills (2009) A New Approach to English for Speakers of Other Languages (ESOL) [online] accessed 10/10/09 Heath, S.B. (1983) Ways with words. Cambridge: CUP Holland, D., & Skinner, D. (2009). Literacies of distinction: (Dis)empowerment in social movements. In K. Basu, B. Maddox and A. Robinson-Pant (eds.), Interdisciplinary approaches to literacy and development. Routledge Press. Marcus, G.E. (1995) Ethnography in/of the worlds system: the emergence of multi-sited ethnography. Annual Review of Anthropology 24 95-117. Ong. A. (1999) Flexible citizenship: The cultural logics of transnationality. Duham, NC: Duke University Press Papen, U. (2005) Adult literacy as Social Practice. Abingdon: Routledge Rassool, N. (2004) Language and communicative competence in the twenty-first century: examining the role of education in Mansoor et al (2004) Language policy, planning and practice: A south Asian perspective. Oxford: OUP, pp. 3-19. Rassool, N. (2007) Global issues in language, education and development: Perspectives from postcolonial countries. Clevedon: Multilingual Matters Robinson-Pant, A. (2008) ‘Why literacy matters’: Exploring a policy perspective on literacies, identities and social change. Journal of Development Studies, 44(6), 779-796 Saxena, M. (2000). ‘Taking account of history and culture in community-based research on multilingual literacy. In M. Martin- Jones and K. Jones (eds) Multilingual Literacies, Amsterdam: John Benjamin, pp. 149-169. Street, B.V. (1984) Literacy in theory and practice. Cambridge: CUP Warriner, D.S. Transnational literacies: Immigration, language learning, and identity. Linguistics and Education 18(3-4) 335-338.


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