Levinson, M.P (2007) 'Literacy in English Gypsy communities: cultural capital manifested as negative assets.' American Educational Research Journal, 44 (1). pp. 5-39. ISSN 0002-8312
The attribution of low literacy levels among Gypsy children to difficulties of access to schools neglects underlying sociocultural explanations. There has been little analysis in reports/studies of Gypsy attitudes toward literacy, nor of outcomes of acquisition. Informed by new literacy theory and by the discourse of previous ethnographic studies, and by acculturation theories, this article draws on findings from an ethnographic study of English Gypsies (1996–2000), and data from a follow-up study, involving original and additional participants (2005–2006). The article explores attitudes across age groups, highlighting social reasons for resistance to literacy, and argues that policy makers should consider effects on group membership and ways in which formal literacy can constitute a mechanism for disempowerment.
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