Cite: Schely-Newman, Constructing Literate Israelis

Schely-Newman, Esther. "Constructing Literate Israelis: A Critical Analysis of Adult Literacy Texts." Israel Studies 15,2 (2010): 196-214.




Literacy in the national language is a necessary skill particularly for migrants. State institutions regulate the acquisition of linguistic resources as a way of controlling and distributing citizenship rights. It follows that programs and texts for teaching immigrants may serve as conduits for national and linguistic ideologies. The article critically analyzes texts teaching Hebrew to unschooled Israeli adult immigrants during a literacy campaign in the 1960s-1970s. It argues that these texts were employed for the Israeli nation-building project, constructing an image of the literate Israeli citizen who participates in civic life, as well as accepts his or her role within the socio-cultural structure of the time. The analysis of texts within their contexts provides insights for better understanding the process of enculturation and language socialization of immigrants.

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