Beyond Strategies and Tactics: Toward the Ethical Institutionalization of Community Literacy

Paul Feigenbaum

Abstract


This essay revises Paula Mathieu’s call for ethical engagement practices that privilege community expertise and goals by eschewing strategic institutionalization in favor of tactical flexibility.  Because scholars cannot operate autonomously from academic institutions, they must work to build ethical principles such as reciprocity and egalitarianism into the academic paradigm.  And while systemic institutional change is a long-term process, rhetoric and composition scholars can begin to institutionalize this ethical mandate within their local contexts.  One step toward such institutional invention would be the development of formative, inquiry-based mechanisms for assessing community literacy projects.


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