Decolonizing Literacy: Mexican Lives in the Era of Global Capitalism. Gregorio Hernández-Zamora, England: Multilingual Matters, 2010, 232 pages

Armando Garza


Hernández-Zamora challenges the present-day assumptions of how literacy and illiteracy are measured among post-colonial Mexican adults who live either in Mexico or the United States. By doing so, he states that literacy should be situated within the society rather than the individual. He frames his research by drawing from sociocultural, dialogical, and postcolonial research and theories. Since Hernández-Zamora’s main thesis is that the development of literacy is promoted or hindered by social conditions, he methodologically uses the “study of communities and the study of individual trajectories of literacy practices across time and space” (p. 31) to describe and understand how those trajectories are marked by social, cultural, and postcolonial factors. This book provides valuable contributions to the sometimes overlooked body of research on literacy and language experiences of poor Mexicans on both sides of the U.S.-Mexico border.

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