Literacy Mediation and Cultural Brokerage in the Family’s Migration Literacies

  • Tony Capstick


In this chapter I look at three individual family members and how they use language and literacy in their everyday lives before focusing on the literacies that have been used in the family’s migrations. I begin with a section introducing the concepts of literacy mediation and cultural brokerage. Next, interpretation of the data begins with a biographical profile which includes the role of literacy sponsors, from the previous chapter, in the lives of three individuals by exploring the role of educational institutions in their literacy learning. Then I examine the family members’ literacy development and use the concept of literacy mediation to explore how individuals turn to mediators when institutional sponsors prevent access to literacy. As such, some mediators will be interested in providing opportunities for literacy development while others embark on mediation only as a means to get the job done. The focus in these sketches is on the key figures, the literacy mediators, rather than the texts themselves, in order to understand how families cope with bureaucratic literacies sponsored in languages, and invoking discourses, with which they are unfamiliar. However, when mediation is more closely focused on translating discourses, the concept of cultural brokerage (Robins 1996) is applied in order to capture what happens when mediation takes place away from the text and moves towards challenging dominant institutions and the discourses they invoke as the cultural broker straddles dominant and non-dominant cultural contexts.


Birth Certificate Access Route Literacy Development Visa Application Dominant Discourse 
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© The Author(s) 2016

Authors and Affiliations

  • Tony Capstick
    • 1
  1. 1.University of ReadingReadingUK

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