Mobilising literacy policy through resources

Year: 2012

Author: Carter, Jenni

Type of paper: Abstract refereed


Chair: Phil Cormack


In this paper I consider the ways in which a State education authority provides resources for schools and teachers that seek to both contain and mobilise a version of good literacy practice.   I will consider how these resources operate within 'assemblages of force', where meanings are translated, transformed and  trafficked to secure those 'sovereign phantasms' that are called upon to legitimise and secure policy positions. These phantasms underpin the formation of those axiological positions from which literacy policy is mobilised, enforced and judged.

The focus for analysis is two resources provided by a State government education authority. These seek to set out the conditions for what is described as high quality literacy teaching, learning and leadership. The purpose of the first of these resources is to inform teachers as to what counts as good literacy practice,  while the second  makes claims about the responsibilities of school leaders and teachers, and sets out  a range of indicators  that are designed to be  used to check if good practice is being followed.  A feature of each is the assumption that what is described as good literacy can be interpreted and applied in common ways. Further, that it is possible to prescribe, calculate and measure good literacy practices in the same way in different social and cultural settings.  The implications of this view of the 'common' as a means to erase difference will be discussed.