Theorizing Media Productions as Complex Literacy Performances Among Youth In and Out of Schools

Theorizing Media Productions as Complex Literacy Performances Among Youth In and Out of Schools

Theresa Rogers (University of British Columbia, Canada)
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-60566-673-0.ch009
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In this chapter the author explores the ways media production represents sophisticated identity and cultural work, and therefore complex literacy performances, among youth as they engage in a play of genres and subject positioning in particular social (educational and community) spaces. Two major research projects in which youth participated in media production form the basis for theorizing in this chapter. Four cases illustrate the ways particular youth design new, hybrid multimodal genres, and how they engage in new models of authorship and cultural critique in this process. Although “youth culture” is often referred to as an undifferentiated phenomenon, this work is highly context-specific, revealing multiple and diverse sub-communities in which specific kinds of cultural and critical work are being undertaken. The author concludes with a challenge to transform schools and classrooms to reflect the increasingly multimodal landscapes in which youth reside.
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As I have argued elsewhere (Rogers & Schofield, 2005), work in multiple and critical youth literacies critiques the privileging of print literacies and supports hybrid and unsanctioned literacy practices in and out of classrooms (e.g., Moje, 2000; O'Brien, 2005). Newer perspectives acknowledge the fluidity of multiple literacy practices—those that travel across spatial contexts and boundaries (Leander, 2003; Rogers & Schofield, 2005). From this perspective, it can be argued that youth become producers of new forms of literacy and media as they comment on and critique their social worlds (Burn & Parker, 2003; New London Group, 2000; Sefton-Green, 1998; 2006; Soep, 2006).

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