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LINGUIST List 23.300

Mon Jan 16 2012

Diss: Socioling/Applied Ling: Hernandez-Zamora: 'Identity and ...'

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        1.     Gregorio Hernandez-Zamora , Identity and Literacy Development: Life histories of marginal adults in Mexico City


Message 1: Identity and Literacy Development: Life histories of marginal adults in Mexico City
Date: 14-Jan-2012
From: Gregorio Hernandez-Zamora <grehzyahoo.com>
Subject: Identity and Literacy Development: Life histories of marginal adults in Mexico City
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Institution: University of California, Berkeley
Program: Graduate School of Education
Dissertation Status: Completed
Degree Date: 2004

Author: Gregorio Hernandez-Zamora

Dissertation Title: Identity and Literacy Development: Life histories of marginal adults in Mexico City

Linguistic Field(s): Not Applicable

Dissertation Director:
Anne H. Dyson
Glynda A. Hull

Dissertation Abstract:

This study examines the histories of learning and literacy in the lives of
economically marginalized individuals in Mexico City, and juxtaposes these
narratives to the adult education programs designed for this kind of
population in Mexico, especially those responding to the needs of the
economic agenda of free market globalization. The study is based on two
sets of data: life history interviews with adults with limited formal
education (from 3rd to 9th grade), and variable age and occupations; and
field and documentary research on the current adult education policies and
programs in Mexico. The interpretation of the data is based on
sociocultural and critical theories of learning, literacy, and the
ex/neocolonial nature of the Mexican society and its current education
policies. While the generalizability of the sample might be limited, the
study provides strong evidence of the multiple barriers faced by
marginalized populations in acquiring and expanding their knowledge and
literacy practices: not simply 'limited skills' but lack of freedom to
speak, act, and make choices about their lives. While all study
participants face structural constraints to learn and grow, gender
differences are significant, since women live, in addition, pervasive
situations of male control and domestic captivity. Yet, despite stories of
limited and poor formal education (at schools and in adult education
classes), all interviewed adults used literacy functionally and competently
in their lives. Moreover, the stories of some of these individuals showed
evidence of impressive processes of personal growth (appropriation of
broader discourses and literacy practices; increasing sense of
self-awareness, agency, and critical thinking) achieved through
participation in community groups. Ultimately, their stories show that in
order to grow, learn, and become literate, poor people have had to defy or
drop official (textbook based) education models that restrict their sense
of intelligence, agency and competence, and engage in community-based
groups that give them access to social conversations and roles that expand
their knowledge, ideological horizons, and sense of identity from one of
individual failure to that of collective strength. This suggests different
paths of action in policy and pedagogy to effectively serve marginalized
populations.




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