Letter Writing as a Social Practice

Editors
| Lancaster University
| Manchester Metropolitan University
HardboundAvailable
ISBN 9789027218025 (Eur) | EUR 105.00
ISBN 9781556192074 (USA) | USD 158.00
 
PaperbackAvailable
ISBN 9789027218032 (Eur) | EUR 36.00
ISBN 9781556192081 (USA) | USD 54.00
 
e-Book
ISBN 9789027298669 | EUR 105.00/36.00*
| USD 158.00/54.00*
 
This book explores the social significance of letter writing. Letter writing is one of the most pervasive literate activities in human societies, crossing formal and informal contexts. Letters are a common text type, appearing in a wide variety of forms in most domains of life. More broadly, the importance of letter writing can be seen in that the phenomenon has been widespread historically, being one of earliest forms of writing, and a wide range of contemporary genres have their roots in letters. The writing of a letter is embedded in a particular social situation, and like all other types of literacy objects and events, the activity gains its meaning and significance from being situated in cultural beliefs, values, and practices. This book brings together anthropologists, historians, educators and other social scientists, providing a range of case studies that explore aspects of the socially situated nature of letter writing.
[Studies in Written Language and Literacy, 9]  2000.  vi, 262 pp.
Publishing status: Available
Table of Contents
1. Introduction
David Barton and Nigel Hall
1
2. Letters and the Social Grounding of Differentiated Genres
Charles Bazerman
15
3. The Familiar Letter and Social Refinement in America, 1750–1800
Konstantin Dierks
31
4. Letter Writing in a Cornish Community in the 1790s
Frances O. Austin
43
5. English Pauper Letters 1800–34, and the English Language
Tony Fairman
63
6. The Materiality of Letter Writing: A nineteenth century perspective
Nigel Hall
83
7. Letter-Writing Instruction in 19th Century Schools in the United States
Lucille M. Schultz
109
8. Young Children’s Explorations of Letter Writing
Nigel Hall, Anne Robinson and Leslie Crawford
131
9. Death Row Penfriends: Some Effects of Letter Writing on Identity and Relationships
Janet Maybin
151
10. ‘Absolute Truly Brill to See From You’: Visuality and Prisoners’ Letters
Anita Wilson
11. True Traces: Love Letters and Social Transformation in Nepal
Laura M. Ahearn
199
12. Teaching Letters: The Recontextualisation of Letter-Writing Practices in Literacy Classes for Unschooled Adults in South Africa
Catherine Kell
209
13. Computer-Mediated Communication: The Future of the Letter?
Simeon J. Yates
233
Author biographies
253
Index of Names
257
Index of Subjects
259
“Barton and Hall's book is a hallmark example of the New Literacies Studies. A variety of careful studies of letter writing as realized in different local and situated practices illuminates a bevy of important theoretical issues dealing with the history of literacy, cultural change, the development of different genres in science and everyday life, the negotiation and renegotiation of identities, the nature of schools and schooling, new technologies, and the socioculturally variable workings of class, race, ethnicity, and gender.”
“Four years ago, when I was developing the reading list for a new course in life writing, I was disappointed and surprised to find that very little research had been published on a practice so ubiquitous and so apparently everyday as writing letters. This book, then, which looks at letter writing and reading across cultures, is a much needed scholarly contribution to the study of written language and social communication. Humble as it may seem, early evidence of the letter form can be identified in all kinds of historical written transactions, including — amazingly — the Magna Carta and the US dollar. This book testifies to the flexibility and significance of letter writing as a social practice and helpfully brings together examinations of older forms of letter writing with contemporary practice including the use of e-mail.”
“The articles selected for inclusion in this book cover a diverse range of topics, representing various cultures and historical eras. However, no matter what particular subject matter is addressed by these authors, a perspective of the letter as a social practice ties all the articles together [...] Taken as a whole, these articles do indeed present a convincing argument that there are social effects of letter writing that are rarely explored in academic literature [...] Given the lack of such research in the past, this book is more than a beginning; it provides a look at the most current and relevant considerations of letters across disciplines, and is a useful addition to the libraries of those who study the social implications of personal communication.”
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Subjects
BIC Subject: CF – Linguistics
BISAC Subject: LAN009000 – LANGUAGE ARTS & DISCIPLINES / Linguistics / General
U.S. Library of Congress Control Number:  99039098