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Citations since 2017
1 Research Item
Tannis Atkinson's writing and research focus on how making attendance in basic education classes a condition of receiving social assistance benefits is not only intensifying social stratification and exclusion but also fundamentally altering the character of community-based education.
January 2014 - April 2014
Ontario Institute for Studies in Education, University of Toronto
- Professor (Associate)
- Work and Literacy: Theory, Policy and Practice Online Master’s level course introduced students to recent trends in workplace education, and to critical analyses of the ways that current policies link literacy and work.
January 2008 - April 2008
- Contract Academic Staff
- CT 398 The Culture of the Book: An Introduction to Book History An interdisciplinary examination of books in various socio-historical contexts. Culminating integrative assignment was a student-curated exhibit at the Brant Museum and Archives.
January 2006 - April 2006
- Contract Academic Staff
- CT 398 The Culture of the Book: An Introduction to Book History
This chapter analyzes how, within neoliberalism, normative literacy has become a mechanism through which subjects are responsibilized and enjoined to relate to themselves as units of human capital. It outlines how calculative practices within international literacy surveys sponsored by the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD...
In this chapter I focus on what is new in transnational literacy statistics, using the analytic lens of governmentality to make visible the ‘intricate ways in which power, knowledge and forms of subjectivity are interconnected with “uses of literacy”’ (Collins and Blot 2003, 66) in contemporary contexts. After describing my analytic approach I disc...
This introductory chapter reflects on the effects of narrowing research agendas and raises questions about how academic work and activism might be mutually beneficial.
Current adult literacy policy in Ontario requires community-based programs to partner with other agencies under the banner of employment preparation. I argue that these partnerships are driven by political rationalities that treat subjects as human capital and education as a means to develop human assets. This paper reports preliminary findings fro...
This volume reflects the many faces of the adult literacy and numeracy (ALN) field since the introduction, more than two decades ago, of OECD surveys that define and measure ALN as a contribution to economic productivity, efficiency and growth. The book highlights the transition to statistical tools as the only legitimate form of knowledge about li...
This chapter historicizes the role of statistics in governance, noting that the increasing refinement of literacy statistics over the 20th century draws on a troubling history of social engineering to define ‘fit’ citizens and to establish criteria for determining who should be the focus of policy attention. The chapter considers how statistics ope...
This chapter discusses how normative 'literacy' has become a critical tactic of neoliberal power. I examine the case of Ontario, where people applying for social assistance must prove that they have completed secondary education and that lack of 'literacy' is not the reason they are unemployed. The mandatory 'literacy screening' in Ontario was intr...
This brief paper consider the case of Canada in relation to a question raised at AERC almost ten years ago: Who loses when “a nation of researchers is locked into a government policy agenda” (Atkinson, 2004, pp. 117, cited in Lather, 2004)? For adult literacy work in Canada, the move to a “narrowly defined scientism” (Lather, 2004, p. 28) in resear...
Over the past few decades international surveys conducted by the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD)—including the Programme for International Student Assessment (PISA), the International Adult Literacy Survey (IALS) and the current Programme for the International Assessment of Adult Competencies (PIAAC)—have been primary m...
In this description of the state of adult literacy education in Canada, I note how practitioner knowledge has been pushed aside in favour of accountability practices aligning practice to OECD framings of adult literacy. These changes are not unique to Canada, however, and I consider what might be gained by asking how calculative practices get used...
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...