Democratic literacy then appears to involve a dilemma. On the one hand it entails initiation into cannons of expression that in the nature of the case will be used by particular communities for the purposes of articulating their customs, beliefs, and practices-in short, their ways of life or concepts of the good. On the other hand, to limit these cannons to a particular group excludes from the language of political power others who are not members of that group. Enfranchising all members of society requires that citizens be provided with skills to articulate their own purposes, intentions, interests, and desires; yet requiring people to adopt a particular way of talking in order to be invited into the corridors of power can deny legitimacy to other modes of expression that may not be favored by purveyors of the current dominant discourse. This is so even if that discourse promotes common cannons of communication, since what counts as ‘common’ will itself vary from one community of discourse to another.
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© 2010 Taylor & Francis.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
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- Arts and Humanities (all)