Tett, Lyn (2017) Participation in adult literacy programmes and social injustices. In: International Handbook on adult and lifelong education and learning,. Palgrave MacMillan, pp. 359-374. ISBN 978-1-137-55782-7

This chapter discusses different approaches to equality and their impact on policy and pedagogy. It then uses the lenses offered by Nancy Fraser’s (2008) concepts of redistribution, recognition and participatory parity to investigate if participation in literacy education contributes to alleviating social injustices. It draws on data from case studies of adult literacy programmes in Scotland to demonstrate that these learners have experienced changes that have lessened social injustices in all three areas. However, it points out that there are many countervailing forces that privilege a narrow, skills-focused, pedagogy that reinforce an individual deficit approach to learners. It concludes that although education is not a panacea for all social ills and cannot compensate for the inequities of society it can make a difference in creating more equitable conditions for those that have already experienced the greatest injustice.

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