Fiona Shearer

Doctor of Philosophy, ( )
Study Completed: 2013
Massey Business School


Thesis Title
A critical discouse study of an adult literacy organisation's publicity in Aotearoa NewZealand from 1973 to 2009

Read article at Massey Research Online: MRO icon

There is little research, in New Zealand and elsewhere, exploring the impact of wider socio-economic contexts on adult literacy publicity.  Fiona’s study examined 30 years of an adult literacy organisation’s publicity.  Through interviews, focus groups and textual analysis, the thesis found that, in a competitive funding regime, the organisation had been impacted by its strategic need to produce professionalised publicity appealing to the state and business interests.  The need to use commonsense definitions of learners as somehow “lacking” interrupted the organisation’s social-justice-based mission to enable all New Zealanders to be critically literate.  However, over the years the organisation continued to expand its publicity to include more than just the 3Rs.  It also used extensive word-of-mouth practices to communicate with hard-to-reach learners.  Building on previous research, the thesis provided recommendations that these more low-key publicity strategies should be expanded and legitimised in organisational strategy and state funding regimes.

Associate Professor Sean Phelan
Professor Frank Sligo
Associate Professor Elspeth Tilley

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