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Letters, authority and secrecy: the case of Karagwe in Tanzania
Örebro University, School of Humanities, Education and Social Sciences, Örebro University, Sweden. (Utbildning och demokrati)
2013 (English)In: Language and Education, ISSN 0950-0782, E-ISSN 1747-7581, Vol. 27, no 1, 44-58 p.Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

This paper aims to show how letters, as a genre of literacy, are used in Karagwe in Tanzania, in relation to authority and secrecy. It is shown that literacy, in the form of letters, plays an important role in the negotiation of authority. Authorities as well as ordinary people use letters according to official norms to claim or manifest authority, while grassroots forms of literacy, dominated forms, are used to resist authorities. Through secret messages and letters people find opportunities to resist that are less dangerous than open rebellion, although the effects may be limited because of the secrecy. It is also shown how children are socialized into this pattern of secrecies through literacy as they are used as messengers. When delivering secret letters and messages, they may be said to exercise a passive voice through literacy.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
London: Taylor & Francis, 2013. Vol. 27, no 1, 44-58 p.
Keyword [en]
literacy, authority, secrecy, literacy practices, power, resistance
National Category
General Language Studies and Linguistics
Research subject
URN: urn:nbn:se:oru:diva-22985DOI: 10.1080/09500782.2012.679000OAI: diva2:528619
Available from: 2012-08-24 Created: 2012-05-28 Last updated: 2013-01-16Bibliographically approved

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Wedin, Åsa
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