Literature education as a social metaphor
The thesis investigates Literature Education as one cultural representation of societies. The use of literature is seen as essential to the process of educating social subjects. It is a subject founded on an interdisciplinary triangle composed of an asymmetrical combination of language studies, cultural studies and social studies. Each change of the apex of the triangle indicates a shifted emphasis on certain socio-cultural and politico-pedagogical characteristics. As a bordercrossing discipline, literature education can have a central role in the creation of a socio-political conscience in the future citizens of a particular society. In the thesis two paradigms of literature education have been viewed, described and analysed. The first, the English paradigm, attempts to inculcate in students a range of 'high-culture' values, without offering a clear methodology for the teaching of literature. It has relatively blurred objectives and theories, and aims at fostering personal responses to the literary text. The other, the Brazilian, is a positivist paradigm centred on literary history. It privileges a pseudo-scientific objectivity. In spite of the conceptual differences between a systematised, descriptive model on the one hand, requiring the mastery of large quantities of content, and another, aiming at building up cultural and literary subjectivity, the thesis suggests similarities between them in terms of certain pedagogic practices, views of students, and of the final product aimed for. This dissertation analyses and describes the cultural significance of the curricular contents and pedagogic practices of literature education in the final years of secondary school, through the data of classroom practices collected both in England and in Brazil. In aiming to understand literature education as a social metaphor it concludes by making some recommendations on modes of teaching and learning which may be essential in creating greater access to cultural goods and thereby more equitable societies.