Not by words alone: reclothing the 'oral'

Finnegan, Ruth (2006). Not by words alone: reclothing the 'oral'. In: Olson, David R. and Cole, Michael eds. Technology, literacy and the evolution of society: Implications of the work of Jack Goody. Mahwah NJ: Lawrence Erlbaum Associates, pp. 265–287.



Among Jack Goody's manifold contributions are his fertile publications on literacy and orality. Enormously influential but (equally valuable) never uncontroversial, Goody's insights and claims have released a flood of publications from the 1960s to the present, supporting, challenging and interacting with his positions. Much of the discussion has revolved round issues about literacy. This paper focuses on the other end, the concept of 'oral'. It is timely to reassert that second strand of his work to open a broader perspective on the 'oral' - reclothing it within the rich complexity which has too often been overlooked.

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