"...undeterred by sociological pessimism, Colin Lankshear hacks away at the underbrush, clearing a path for a new critical-liberatory discourse" James Paul Gee, Clark University, Worcester, Massachusetts. This book explores everyday social practices and how they influence who people are, what they become, the quality of their lives, the opportunities and possibilities open to them, and those they are denied. It focusses especially on language and literacy components of social practices, asking: * How are language and literacy framed within different social practices? * How are social practices in turn shaped and framed by language and literacy? * What are the consequences for the lives and identities of individuals and groups? * How can we understand these relationships, and build on this understanding to develop critical forms of literacy and language awareness that enhance human dignity, freedom and social justice? In addressing these questions the book draws on social practices from diverse settings: from classrooms using conventional texts to so-called "enchanted workplaces"; from a Third World peasant cooperative enterprise to modern technologically-equipped homes and classrooms. The result is a rich sociocultural account of language and literacy, which challenges narrow psychological and skills-based approaches, and provides an excellent theory base for informing the practice of literacy educators. It will be compelling reading for academics, teachers and students of language and literacy education, critical literacy, discourse studies and cultural studies.