Mary E. Hamilton

Mary E. Hamilton
Lancaster University | LU · Department of Educational Research

About

72
Publications
10,081
Reads
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3,782
Citations
Citations since 2016
20 Research Items
1986 Citations
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Introduction
Skills and Expertise

Publications

Publications (72)
Article
Full-text available
In this paper, we explore the improvisations made in examination practices in higher education during the pandemic of 2020. Drawing on STS, we start from the theoretical assumption that examinations constitute an obligatory passage point in universities and colleges: a sacred point which students need to pass if they want to gain recognized qualifi...
Article
Full-text available
Sue Gardner, who died last December, was a key innovator in adult literacy at the beginning of the 1970s during the first adult literacy campaign in the UK. The vision she held about literacy work as a form of cultural politics informed and inspired a whole strand of the movement that developed at that time. It was a strand that survives to the pre...
Article
Science and Technology Studies (STS) has been surprisingly slow to become widely known and deployed in the field of education. Yet STS has a rich array of concepts and analytical methods to offer to studies of: knowledge practices and epistemic cultures; the interrelationship between states and knowledge; regulatory practices, governance and instit...
Article
This paper focuses on the rapidly expanding field of largescale international assessment surveys and their impact on the field of adult education and learning. I take the case of OECD’s survey assessing adult skills (PIAAC) and situate it within the wider context of the datification of educational policy and practice. The claims made for the policy...
Article
Full-text available
This paper explores academics' writing practices, focusing on the ways in which they use digital platforms in their processes of collaborative learning. It draws on interview data from a research project that has involved working closely with academics across different disciplines and institutions to explore their writing practices, understanding a...
Article
Full-text available
This paper examines how international, large-scale skills assessments (ILSAs) engage with the broader societies they seek to serve and improve. It looks particularly at the discursive work that is done by different interest groups and the media through which the findings become part of public conversations and are translated into usable form in pol...
Article
The Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development’s (OECD) Programme of International Assessment of Adult Competencies (PIAAC) is put forward as a landmark development in the lifelong monitoring and international comparison of education. The first round of PIAAC’s Survey of Adult Skills compared performance in literacy, numeracy and proble...
Chapter
This chapter presents a theoretical model for analysing the different ways in which literacy is represented in policy, media discourses and everyday practices. There are many ways in which people have tried to define and explain how literacy functions in individual lives and in society, asserting its usefulness for the state and for other social an...
Book
This book enquires into the politics and practices of international literacy assessment programmes, exploring how the internationally comparable numbers so heavily relied upon in international policy are produced and how they shape our understanding of the meanings and purposes of literacy.
Article
Full-text available
This paper offers a working conversation between the authors about the uneasy relationship between literacy studies and learning technologies. We come from the field of literacy studies but from contrasting perspectives: from academic literacies and work on literacies and technologies in higher education; from an interest in media theory and the im...
Article
This paper explores the relationship between global, regional and local influences on adult literacy policy and practice in the UK through a discourse analysis of policy-related texts. The analysis is framed by theoretical perspectives from literacy studies and socio-material theory. The paper identifies a number of specific features in the UK lite...
Article
Full-text available
In 1985 some adult learners who had met whilst attending Horton House Adult Education Centre in Halifax, West Yorkshire had an experience that changed their lives. They began to bond as members of a Magazine Group set up in the early 1980s by tutor organiser Gillian Frost (now known as Josie Pollentine) They enjoyed working with Gillian in a cooper...
Article
Local Literacies is a unique study of everyday reading and writing. By concentrating on a selection of people in a particular community in Britain, the authors analyze how they use literacy in their day-to-day lives.This exploration provides a description of literacy at one point in time, and also reveals the nature and significance of communicatio...
Article
Literacy is a key indicator for comparing individuals and nations in contemporary society. It is central to public debates about the nature of the public sphere, economic markets, citizenship and self-governance. Literacy and the Politics of Representation aims to uncover the constructed nature of public understandings of literacy by examining deta...
Article
Local Literacies is a unique detailed study of the role of reading and writing in people’s everyday lives. By concentrating on a selection of people in a particular community in Lancaster, England, the authors analyse how they use literacy in their day-to-day lives. It follows four people in detail examining how they use local media, their particip...
Article
This paper considers the policy environment of adult literacy as a space within which sites of learning are shaped and given value. It explores the interplay between international, national and local visions of what literacy is, who literacy learners are and what counts as learning, thereby linking broader social formations with local practices of...
Article
Living in an increasingly visual culture, Rowsell, McLean, and Hamilton illustrate the importance of critically evaluating the potential of visual literacy as a dimension of the school context. They first situate visual literacy within the school arena and then examine its relevance to learning through different visual genres. In an effort to illus...
Article
This paper argues for the utility of ANT as a philosophical and methodological approach to policy analysis. It introduces the key features of a recent educational policy reform initiative, Skills for Life and illustrates the argument by looking at three ‘moments’ (in Callon's 1986 terminology) in the life of this initiative, applying the theoretica...
Article
This paper explores the ways in which policy discourses have constructed rationales for addressing adult literacy over the last 50 years. In particular, we examine how policy positions the literacy learner as citizen within discourses of rights and equity. Taking the case of the UK, we compare two key documents produced at different historical mome...
Article
This article addresses the question, How do changes in policy discourses shape public representations of literacy learners and the goals of adult literacy education? It examines specifically how the agency of adult literacy learners is constructed. We carry out a critical discourse analysis of two key adult literacy policy documents from the U.K.:...
Article
Full-text available
This short paper refers back to the pre-conference presentation I gave at last year’s CSSE meeting in Montreal. It uses a contemporary example from everyday social practice to discuss the powers of literacy in social ordering.
Article
Full-text available
Literacy as social practice This paper presents a theory of literacy as social practice in the form of six propositions about the nature of literacy. The starting-point is that literacy is best understood as a set of social practices ; these are observable in events which are mediated by written texts. This offers a powerful way of conceptualizing...
Conference Paper
Full-text available
Nearly three decades of empirical research and theoretical discussion have helped us to understand literacy as not merely a discrete and autonomous skill, but as situated, social, multiple, complex—as 'literacies'. During this same period policies that inform literacy education have become increasingly narrow, aligning to the OECD's large-scale int...
Article
This article analyses the role of Individual Learning Plans (ILPs) in teachers' work in the Skills for Life sector. It shows how ILPs, originally a means of formative assessment, have become part of a system of performance indicators and function as a key mediating mechanism between local interactions and system goals. The article draws on theoreti...
Chapter
Full-text available
LancasterUniversity This chapter addresses issues of creativity and identity in academic writing. It links with some key themes in Roz Ivanič's work including notions of audience, purpose and the struggles with identity experienced by both new and established academic writers. We begin by outlining some of the features of academic writing processes...
Article
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This paper draws on ethnographic and case study data from a variety of sources to explore the changing social practices of literacy across the lifespan. It explores the new literacy demands that people encounter with age when dealing with life events in a range of social domains. These include increased leisure; travel; changing family and peer rel...
Article
Cet article presente un ensemble de reflexions sur un projet de recherche en ethnographie. L'A. decrit comment les participants et informateurs de cette enquete ont repondu a une invitation a collaborer, avec l'equipe de chercheurs, pour la mise en place de l'enquete et l'interpretation des donnees. La recherche portait sur les histoires de vie et...
Article
The field of adult literacy in England has a long history, but has particularly developed during the last three decades. Along with the rest of post‐school education and training, it has been substantially reshaped by national policy initiatives since the 1970s. During this period it has struggled to assert itself as a legitimate area of policy and...
Article
This article discusses the possibilities for using ethnographic methods as part of the literacy curriculum at all levels of the education system. It presents a view of ethnography as a research approach with potential as a learning resource, encouraging reflection and theorizing about literacy in which teachers and students can engage together. It...
Article
Full-text available
This paper introduces the significant body of research on everyday literacies that has developed over the last twenty years and links it with the concerns of those working in the field of lifelong learning. It starts by briefly introducing debates about adult informal learning. It goes on to discuss ethnographic and interview studies of everyday le...
Article
INTRODUCTION We work in Literacy Studies and approach the notion of community of practice to see how it can strengthen or challenge what we do. The field of literacy studies has developed in parallel with communities of practice work over the past twenty years. The two approaches have common roots in the work of Scribner and Cole (1981), but then t...
Article
Full-text available
Recent years have seen a paradigm shift in the study of literacy in contemporary societies. The shift is from a psychological or cognitive model of literacy as a set of skills to one which includes the sociocultural practices associated with reading and writing. It is a social and ecological view of literacy rather than a purely psychological one (...
Article
Full-text available
This paper argues that in order to make use of the theoretical insights offered by the New Literacy Studies we need to understand more about how institutions produce and privilege certain kinds of knowing – and how, in this process, they devalue or re-define the local and the vernacular for their own purposes. The specific example of the Inter-nati...
Article
The paper evaluates the work of the International Adult Literacy Survey as reported in OECD 1997. It assesses its contribution to understanding literacy in terms of the perspective of the New Literacy Studies. It outlines this perspective as a basis for a critique that is mostly concerned with the validity of the test. Three criticisms of the surve...
Article
Full-text available
This study of newspaper photographs provides visual evidence of a wide range of everyday, public literacy practices and confronts us with the need to refine the terms we use to describe and account for these. In addition it shows how the process of public photography both creates and interacts with every literacy practices, thereby revealing a grea...
Article
In this chapter the authors' primary aim is to describe the general workings of the system of adult literacy and learning as it exists in the United Kingdom today. To better illuminate that system, they take a little time delving into its past--that is, showing how it arrived at its current state of operation. A secondary aim is to compare and cont...
Article
Full-text available
this report we have reviewed a wide range of material.
Chapter
Writing originated separately in Mesopotamia and Egypt, China, pre-Columbian America, and, possibly, the Indus Valley. The earliest evidence of writing is cuneiform script from Mesopotamia at c.3500 BC. Six earlier classes of visual representation contributed to the development of writing-systems: the expressive and ritualistic markings found in ca...
Article
This paper addresses recent government policy concerning basic skills training and long‐term unemployed people and the notion of developing a ‘training culture’ amongst adult workers. We report on a qualitative interview study with 100 long‐term unemployed people which explores their perceptions of their basic skills needs, the barriers they face i...
Article
This article offers a critique of the traditional role of the university in relation to the promotion of universal literacy. It describes some of the developments in university Involvement in adult basic education in the United Kingdom and suggests possibilities for the future. K argues that universities must commit themselves to a lifelong learnin...
Article
This paper investigates the concept of word in adults at various literacy levels. Sixty adults gave definitions of word and judged whether specific items were words, during an interview of metalinguistic awareness. Definitions were analysed in terms of 3 main dimensions: functions, meaning and units. Definitional form was also noted, as were inaccu...
Article
As part of a wider study of metalinguistic skills, a study examined the metalinguistic awareness of the concept "word" of adults at different literacy levels. Subjects, 60 adult monolingual English speakers enrolled in adult education classes, were divided into three groups according to reading level. Data were gathered through a structured intervi...

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Projects

Project (1)
Project
This 2 year ESRC project starting in January 2015 focuses on the changing nature of academic work. Different factors, including digitisation, marketisation and the massification of Higher Education, have been transforming the nature of academics’ writing practices in recent decades. This research project focuses on academics’ writing practices, working with people in a range of disciplines in different universities in England. Using ethnographic approaches, including interviews, observation and close analysis of writing processes, we will develop a better understanding of what it is to be an academic in the 21st century.