„Great Theory of Literacy”—Basic Assumptions, Methodology and Discussion Cover Image

„Wielka teoria piśmienności” – podstawowe założenia, krytyka i problemy metodologiczne
„Great Theory of Literacy”—Basic Assumptions, Methodology and Discussion

Author(s): Aleksandra Deskur
Subject(s): Anthropology, Language studies, Language and Literature Studies, Communication studies, Theory of Communication
Published by: Komisja Nauk Filologicznych Oddziału Polskiej Akademii Nauk we Wrocławiu
Keywords: writing; communication; anthropology; literacy; language; communicology

Summary/Abstract: The article aims to describe the main assumptions of the so-called “Great Theory of Literacy” formulated by authors such as Walter Jackson Ong, Jack Goody, Erick Havelock and other researchers, representing various fields of science (philology, history, anthropology, communication, etc.). The basic assumption of the theory is the existence of profound differences between orality and literacy, which affect the general shape of communication, culture and society. The theory I analyze focuses primarily on confrontation, on contrasting the characteristics of oral and written language, as well as the accompanying mental and communicational contexts. At the same time, it should be noted that the Great Theory of Literacy has provoked many polemic voices that criticize the findings of Ong, Havelock and Goody. In this text I present the most important critical voices and arguments and try to determine to what extent the methodological characteristics of both the Great Theory of Literacy and theories formulated in counteraction to it could contribute to the dispute and to what extent this is a constructive discussion. My main hypothesis concerns the relatively small part of linguistic reflection in the reflection of both theoreticians of the Great Theory of Literacy and their opponents, which can significantly contribute to difficulties with the use of theoretical constructs on the basis of language and communication practice.

  • Issue Year: 2018
  • Issue No: 7
  • Page Range: 109-117
  • Page Count: 9
  • Language: Polish