Spelling ‘Mississippi’: Recontextualizing a Literacy‐Related Speech Event

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Abstract

This article examines steps, a distinctive genre of black street rhyme, as a literacy‐related speech event and as a social statement made by its performers. The analysis shows that despite the presence and demonstration of language and literacy competence, the performers never were seen as possessing such skills because displays of their school‐required abilities were recontextualized in peer group activities that were considered part of black “street” repertoire. The features, functions, meanings and symbolic interpretations of this controversial speech event, which was banned from the school, are examined. 1983 American Anthropological Association

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)235-256
Number of pages22
JournalAnthropology & Education Quarterly
Volume14
Issue number4
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 1983
Externally publishedYes

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Keywords

  • BLACK URBAN COMMUNITY
  • FOLKLORE
  • LITERACY
  • PEER CULTURE
  • SOCIAL SEMIOTICS

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Education
  • Anthropology

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