Academic discourse and literacy narratives as "equipment for living"

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Author: Kris Rutten
Date: Dec. 2011
Publisher: Purdue University Press
Document Type: Case study
Length: 5,852 words
Lexile Measure: 1400L

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Abstract :

In his article "Academic Discourse and Narratives of Literacy as 'Equipment for Living'" Kris Rutten discusses practices of academic discourse and argues that students entering higher education have to become part of a specific community of institutional discourse. Rutten claims that narratives of and about literacy--narratives that revolve around issues dealing with language and the acquisition of literacy--"dramatize" the tension of moving from one discourse community to another. By charting situations of "type," fictional literacy narratives can be used by students as "equipment for living" in order to reflect on confrontations and difficulties they experience in higher education. Kenneth Burke's "dramatistic pentad" is introduced as an analytical tool to study representations and interpretations of institutional discourse in fictional narratives. In a case study, the popular literacy narrative Educating Rita is analyzed and confronted with personal reflections of students. Further, Rutten discusses what can be learned from a rhetorical perspective on literacy about roles (identities) and language (institutional discourses) in higher education.

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Gale Document Number: GALE|A280387429