Associate Professor of Anthropology Chaise LaDousa published an article, “Subject to Address in a Digital Literacy Initiative: Neoliberal Agency and the Promises and Predicaments of Participation,” in the current issue of the journal Signs and Society.

LaDousa employed M.M. Bakhtin’s notion of addressivity (discursive directedness) to consider that a digital literacy training module, used by LaDousa and his students during fieldwork in an adult education initiative, provided indications that it was meant for two different audiences. 

He found that on one hand, the software package engaged the adult students in the program with the completion of a set of tasks meant to familiarize them with various aspects of computers and broadband usage.

On the other hand, LaDousa said, the software package offered organizations a product to increase their client base and maximize their services.

Both forms of addressivity were couched in the promise that the use of computers and broadband will enable people to escape poverty, but ultimately the software package followed through on the expansion of organizations.

Research for the article was made possible by a Levitt Group Project conducted over 10 weeks during the summer of 2011. Group members were Ana Baldrige ’12, Paige Cross ’13 and Chip Larsen ’16.

In 2012, LaDousa directed other Levitt Group Projects focused on adult education. Paige Cross ’13, Robert (Trevor) Howe ’14, Madison Kircher ’14, Grace Parker-Zielinski ’14, Melissa Segura ’14 and Anna Zahm ’13 participated.

He also co-directed a 2014 Levitt Group Project with John Bartle, associate professor of German and Russian languages and literatures. The group included Emily Banzer ’15, Jeremy Cottle ’17, Justin Long ’16, Gabriel Rivas ’16, Chris Rogers ’15 and Elizabeth Wilson ’15.

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