The Turtle and the Fish in Latin America

  • Judy Kalman Centro de Investigación y Estudios Avanzados del IPN, Mexico City


If you had the opportunity to listen to Brian Street present a talk or read his work, the turtle and the fish will strike a familiar chord. Brian Street was an ethnographer, a literacy researcher, and an overall enthusiast about what human beings did and how they made sense of their worlds. He used the parable of the turtle and the fish to explain how what is familiar to us gets in the way of what is not, and the difficulties and often impossible obstacles to understanding other people’s lives and worlds. In this paper I reflect on Brian and his contribution to understanding literacy as a social practice in Latin America.