Business Literacy and Social Change

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“Critical Literacy Programs: Can Business Literacy be a Catalyst for Economic and Social Change?” by Canan Corus, Tobin College of Business, St. John’s University, NY and Julie L. Ozanne, Pamplin College of Business, Virginia Tech, VA was just published in the Journal of Macromarketing OnlineFirst. Dr. Corus gives us some background on the article below:

Who is the target audience for this article?

Scholars and practitioners interested in vulnerable populations, adult literacy, and microfinance.

What Inspired You To Be Interested In This Topic?

Initially what inspired this research was the innovative approach to adult literacy, REFLECT. This approach was inspired by the critical literacy studies of Paulo Freire which revolutionized adult literacy education.

Were There Findings That Were Surprising To You?

This article does not involve data collection; it is a conceptual article. During the course of my research, the individual stories of learners that were depicted in the reports related to REFLECT circles were very interesting. These stories gave a very real and interesting picture of how some adult literacy programs can change individual and community lives drastically, from private, family circles to more public, community arenas.

How Do You See This Study Influencing Future Research And/Or Practice?

This is an advocacy paper that promotes a critical viewpoint in not only education but also corporation-community relationships. Many development programs that are supported by corporations fail to question existing power relations in societies and have a tendency to recreate the conditions that marginalize poorer communities. Keeping this in mind, this paper calls for future research that would extend support for adult literacy education and other development efforts to take a critical approach, with the larger objective of mobilizing marginalized communities.

How Does This Study Fit Into Your Body Of Work/Line Of Research?

My interest is largely in vulnerable consumers/communities and corporations’ interactions with them. This article is in line with my research as it urges corporations to support literacy programs that would mobilize marginalized communities by providing not only business illiteracies but also insights as to the underlying structural forces that shape societies.

How Did Your Paper Change During The Review Process?

The major revisions were on three accounts: strengthening the article’s connection to the macromarketing literature, improving the discussion on the theoretical framework on which critical literacy programs are based, and clarifying the role of corporations in improving adult literacy programs.

What, If Anything, Would You Do Differently If You Could Go Back And Do This Study Again?

Perhaps putting more emphasis on macromarketing literature and the position of critical adult literacy within this framework from the beginning of the writing process would have been more appropriate.

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