Reading and Writing as a Cultural Praxis of Youth
This chapter draws on a comparative study of the reading and writing activities of young people in Brazil and Germany. Identifying both reading and writing as potential ways of young people creating a sense of themselves, rather than merely activities that are associated with the normative expectations of schools; data discussed here shows how these activities operate as resources for personal becoming. By using Spinoza’s categories of freemen (sic), tyrant, slave, and priest to interrogate the accounts of themselves and their reading and writing given by the young people in both cultural environments, the chapter demonstrates a novel way of looking across cultures to tease out differences as well as similarities. The analysis raises questions about how these differences might be traced back to societal processes. These categories therefore both allow a nuanced reading of the young people’s accounts and raise some fundamental questions for comparative studies about (i) how particular cultures function a media to produce free men, tyrants, slaves, and priests?—and (ii) what mechanisms enable this? The chapter concludes with a short reflection on how Hedegaard’s work on institutional practices motive orientation within institutional settings may help address aspects of these questions.
KeywordsSpinoza Práxis Motives Culture
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