Writing as nutrition for democracies
Start date: 2019-01-01
End date: 2023-12-31
"You have to tend to this garden of democracy, otherwise things can fall apart fairly quickly." This serious concern about democracy was stated by Barack Obama in December 2017.
This project echoes these concerns and is underpinned by the belief that citizen's active participation is necessary to maintain sustainable democracies. Information in text-based media increase by the day and its origin, purpose and accuracy is not always transparent. Therefore, the need for citizens to be critical and to respond in speech and writing is more important than ever. In Swedish schools, as well as internationally, there is little emphasis on the socio-political discourse in literacy education which means that pupils receive little, if any, training in how to critically understand and respond to textual information.
In this project we focus on the development of participatory writing as a tool for democracy. Our main objective is to reconceptualize the role of writing and writing education for democratic participation. First we map current discourses of writing in the Swedish curriculum for the compulsory school and in classroom practices and relate them to writing practices for democratic participation in formal and informal contexts. Second, we develop viable methodologies for writing education that enhance voice and participation.
The project is based on participatory research methodologies and will be carried out in close collaboration with teachers, students and other stakeholders.