‘Communities are where it all happens’: Tracing discourses of sustainability in the destatisation of adult literacy education in British Columbia, Canada


  • Suzanne Smythe




Adult Literacy, Policy, Neoliberalism, Sustainability, Destatisation


Using tools of critical discourse analysis and the concept of ‘strategic ambiguity’ (Eisenburg, 1984; Leitch & Davenport, 2007), the author traces the keyword ‘sustainability’ across the textual landscape of a literacy policy project in British Columbia, arguing that the ambiguity of the term sustainability allowed for consensus to coalesce around a policy project oriented to the destatisation (Jessop, 2002) of adult literacy education. The case suggests implications for how policy networks are “discourse-driven” and the importance for literacy educators and those in less powerful positions in a policy network to attend carefully to how words are used to gain consensus for controversial policy projects.


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How to Cite

Smythe, S. (2014). ‘Communities are where it all happens’: Tracing discourses of sustainability in the destatisation of adult literacy education in British Columbia, Canada. Encyclopaideia, 18(40). https://doi.org/10.6092/issn.1825-8670/4659