We live in a textually-mediated world where writing is central to society, its cultural practices and institutions. Writing has been the subject of much research but it is usually highly visible and valued texts that are studied the work of novelists, poets and scholars.
The studies included in this book examine every day acts of writing and their significance. Ordinary quotidian writing may be viewed as mundane and routine, but it is central to how societies operate and the ways individuals relate to each other and to institutions.
Examples discussed in the book including writing in areas such as farming, photo-sharing, childcare work and health care. The chapters are united in their approach to examining this writing as cultural practice. The book also brings together two important traditions of this type of study: the Anglophone and Francophone. The work of French scholars in this field is made accessible for the first time to the Anglophone world. The insights and research in this collection will appeal to all linguists, anthropologists, sociolinguistics and cultural theorists.
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Table of Contents
Part I: The anthropology of writing: writing as social and cultural practice \ 1. What is the ‘anthropology of writing'? David Barton and Uta Papen \ 2. Acts of writing: when writing is doing, Béatrice Fraenke \ Part II: Writing in the workplace - institutional demands \ 3. Updating a biomedical database, David Pontille \ 4. Balancing demands from system and situation: literacy practices in a childcare workplace, Karin Tusting \ 5. Tracing cows: practical and administrative logics in tension, Nathalie Joly \ Part III: Writing by individuals and institutions \ 6. Vernacular spaces on the web, David Barton \ 7. Keeping a personal note-book in rural Mali: Practice, genre and the materiality of writing, Aissatou Mbodj-Pouye (EHESS, France) \ 8. Writing and being written about: patients as writers and recipients of health texts, Uta Papen \ Part IV: Historical perspectives \ 9. Using Edwardian postcards to study ordinary writing, Julia Gillen and Nigel Hall \ 10. Legal and illegal forms of public writing in 17th century France, Anne Béroujon \ 11. Writing illness: the diary of a doctor treating morphine addict in late nineteenth century France, Philippe Artières \ Afterword: Current themes in the anthropology of writing, Brian Street \ Bibliography \ Index