Monday, February 28, 2005

Understanding understanding

Did I mention how much I love libraries? There is nothing I want more than my personal librarian, complete with a decent budget, good storage and reading space, and a mission to gather information. One of the few Norwegian science fiction book-series, which was also a radio show way back when, was about librarians, a ship that sailed among the stars, gathering knowledge.

Today's ode is caused by a visit to the library today. I tend to forget about it when I am not researching a particular topic. I have the books I need from day to day in my office, and I like that. But today I wanted to pursue the issue of understanding, the connection between reading, writing, the media and the way we think and learn. And our library has that literature. While I normally don't have much to do with the teacher's education part of the college, standing in front of the shelves I realised that there, right there, was where we could see the advantages of the wide range of subjects taught in Volda. Because the books were there, the titles that appeared obscure only a few months ago, at my ned, they appear - in the library.

Rethinking writing, Page to Screen, Learning in virtual environments, The knowledge web, What video games have to teach us, Interaction of media, Cognition and learning and last, not exactly related, but irresistible as my hand passed it on the way elsewhere: Rules of Play.

I haven't had time to read them yet, but I am working on an article on new media, weblogs and literacy. I am pretty updated on new media and weblogs. I just need a little more input on the literacy side of it. When I am, you will all know about it, and I promise to share any particularly juicy bits in the stack I have next to me on the couch. Right in the spot where the cat likes to sleep, actually, so she sleeps, annoyed, a little further up, by the cookbooks. Anybody got a good link or a suggestion? On the literacy part - not the cat and cookbook part...


Andrea said...

what about Jack Goody? [ie. Jack Goody and Ian Watt, "The Consequences of Literacy"]He's the first that comes to my mind when I think about literacy (and yes, I'm still quite a young blogger & anthropology student, haven't got a propper overview of what exactly is going on in your field and haven't finished my degree maybe it's not all that relevant...)

Torill said...

This is what you are thinking of? It looks very interesting, and is, to a point very relevant. Which reminds me that I should get in touch with Hilde, who looks at society and technology.

In this phase of the work I am casting my net widely. I need to figure out in which direction I can take the article. Then I can decide which suggestions are relevant, and which are not ;) thanks!

Andrea said...

Well maybe not only that one by Goody, and as you're casting your net widely those might be promising too:

"Literacy in Traditional Societies" and "The Logic of Writing and the Organization of Society" both by Goody.

Keller-Coen, D. (1994): Literacy: Interdisciplinary Conversations, New Qork: Hampton Press

Schousboe, K. and M.T. Larsen (eds) Literacy and Society, Copenhagen: Akademisk Forlag

(all taken from Barnard & Spencer; Encyclopedia of Social and Cultural Anthropology who's got a nice entry on the topic as well).

Common argument [in that entry]seems to be, that literacy is (in a wider sense) not confined to western society, writing has been around for pretty long. "There have been many approaches [to the study of literacy] by both anthropologists and others. The view of unidirectional progress upwards to the predestined Western pennacle of alphabetic writing and finally, print has been enormously powerful (even among anthropologists [oh no, how could we!!!]) and still appears in authoritative publications.

I think I'm getting carried away here quoting the whole article...but just a quick note on strands of study:

effects of literacy [requirements for empire, political and religious control, "modernization",, linearity of thought and expression [very interesting that one!],

orality-literacy deabate and some maybe not so relevant others.

As you see, I'm very curious about all your future posts on the topic...