Can you see a social issue? (Re)Looking at everyday texts

Govender, Navan (2019) Can you see a social issue? (Re)Looking at everyday texts. The Anti-Racist Educator, Glasgow, Scotland. (

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Scotland, as a modern western and increasingly globalised context, seems to sit between colonialism and postcolonialism: as an instrument and beneficiary of the British colonial empire, and as a context subsumed by English and Englishness as a most valued cultural commodity. Now, more than ever, it seems necessary 1) to see how power works through everyday language and texts in order to interrogate them and reimagine a more socially just future, and 2) to consider how diversity and difference can be viewed and used as a resource for sustainable futures. In my discussion here, I hope to explore three main ideas: One, how texts (in the broadest sense) are intrinsically related to issues of power in socio-cultural context. Two, how an analysis of texts might reveal the social issues and dominant ideologies of a place and time, and three, how critical literacy might enable the (re)reading and (re)writing of texts in ways that confront and challenge problematic relations of power. I begin with a brief discussion on texts and their relationship with power before exploring an example of an everyday text. Finally, I discuss two examples from my own practice as a researcher and lecturer in critical literacies (on a PGDE English programme) that serve to illustrate possibilities for personal and classroom practice.