Translating Capital

At the moment I am thinking most about Bourdieu. What I like most about him is that he enables me to think critically about inequality and literacy. It also seems to satisfy my need for a theoretical framework. I also want to explore Actor Network Theory and Complexity Theory. 


I suspect I need to revisit my 6 year PhD by publication plan and draft a more detailed schedule. 


so – reading & response: 


Pahl, K  (2008) Tracing habitus in texts: Narratives of loss, disappointment and migration in homes, Ch 10 pg 189 in Albright & Luke


‘…the complexity of the global but also the specificity of the local (Luke & Luke, 2000).’


I wonder here about the global = complex & the local = specific. 


Drawing on complexity theory, is it possible that the local can be understood as just as complex as the global, fractal – that size does not suggest diminishing degrees of complexity.


I am reminded of the need to be critical of the ‘hypodermic’ approach to literacy (Luke 1995) – the belief that  this or that approach is particularly empowering. An approach that falls into Graff’s (1979) literacy myth – the belief that literacy has independent effects. One adopted by policy makers who equate it to economic prosperity.  When the determinants of the economy are contextually located in structural forces that are broader and more complex then those that literacy alone can resolve. 


The consequences and ‘effects’ of school-acquired literacy capital are always mediated and re-mediated by other structural, material and social relational forces within social fields outside the school – those very social and intellectual fields where literacy is locally used, reshaped and deployed (Luke 2008:349)


Literacy broadly as form of habitus / capital / disposition that may be translated into embodied capital (eg skills, disposition) and possibly enable an equitable conversion into material capital (cognitive artefacts) for later translation into institutional capital (credentials, diplomas, degrees). 


My question is the possibility of the equity based agenda for literacy education in broad terms or is this commitment that resonates only as a minority project. I weary here because this sounds bleak. I have a hunch that it is completely irrelevant. 


It may be that the contemporary echo of this commitment is ‘student centred’ pedagogy. Which would seem to be to be a useful mechanisms for ideas about literacy as social practice to emerge. 


Ok – I don’t have a definite query. I think part of what feels like a bit of a block is that I may not want to interview these particular students. But – I may explore: 


Literacy as teacher & literacy as student – into a composite theory of literacy. What are its constituent parts and its major influences. Connected to habitus as evident in text and evident in teaching. So – their literacy practice as teachers. 


I need to read to explore a reasonable question. 

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