Examining the Plurality of Literacies through the Habermasian Lens


  • Cheu-jey Lee Purdue University Fort Wayne


This paper is concerned with a critical examination of the plurality of literacies through the Habermasian lens. It begins with a literature review of how the definition of literacy is broadened to include multiple literacies along with their social practices. Yet the proposition for the plurality of literacies also comes with the challenge of how to evaluate them. Jurgen Habermas’s (1981/1984, 1981/1987) theory of communicative action is put forth as a viable framework to provide criteria for evaluating the validity claims made in literacies. This paper concludes with a presentation of the implications for literacy education relocated within Habermas’s framework.

Author Biography

Cheu-jey Lee, Purdue University Fort Wayne

Cheu-jey Lee is Associate Professor in the School of Education at Purdue University Fort Wayne. He is also Site Director of the Appleseed Writing Project, an affiliation of the National Writing Project. He received his Ph.D. in Language Education from Indiana University-Bloomington. He teaches literacy/language arts methods courses in the teacher education program. His research focuses on literacy education, especially critical literacy and sociolinguistically-based writing, in relation to Jurgen Habermas’s theory of communicative action.