Richard Rorty’s Social Hope and Community Literacy

Tom Deans


This essay explores how the philosophical tradition of American pragmatism,
especially Richard Rorty’s work on social hope late in his career, could be
relevant to community literacy. Pragmatism does not prescribe a particular
approach to community literacy but, unlike many kinds of critical pedagogy,
affirms a role for patriotism and liberalism in social change movements.
Pragmatists such as Rorty prefer cooperative participation and incremental
reform to either idealism or ideological critique.

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Publication of the Community Literacy Journal is made possible through the generous support of the English Department and the Writing and Rhetoric Program at Florida International University. The CLJ is a journal of the Conference on Community Writing.