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Where is the critical in literacy?: Tracing performances of literature reading, readers and non-readers in educational practice
Örebro University, School of Humanities, Education and Social Sciences.
2019 (English)Doctoral thesis, comprehensive summary (Other academic)
Abstract [en]

In many instances in society, educational and other, literature reading is emphasised as something that develops persons in positive ways. The present thesis explores this claim in relation to literature reading in educational practices. By tracing how values and critical aspects of reading are enacted, the purpose is both to problematize taken-for-granted truth claims about literature reading and to develop an understanding of the elements involved when reading, readers and critical aspects of reading are created. The studies focus on different educational practices; a teacher’s narrative about grading, information brochures about reading to children and the policy and practice of a reading project at special residential homes for detained youth in Sweden. In these practices, the thesis explores where and when the critical takes place, in what constellations and with what consequences. The thesis draws on critical literacy, where reading is regarded as taking action and having self-empowering potential. However, with help of a pragmatic and material semiotic approach, the investigations steps away from what is taken for granted about reading and about what critical means, and instead reading, readers and the critical are analysed as transactional effects.

The studies show how students can be placed at risk by rationales for reading literature that construct and establish them as lacking of culture or as literacy inadequate. The thesis further shows that the critical in literacy can be ambivalent as well as multiple, and it can be enacted by both human, discursive and material actors.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Örebro: Örebro University , 2019. , p. 120
Series
Örebro Studies in Education, ISSN 1404-9570 ; 59
Series
Örebro Studies in Educational Sciences with an Emphasis on Didactics ; 8
Keywords [en]
Literary Didactics, Literature, Critical literacy, Critical space, Actor-network theory, Special residential homes
National Category
Pedagogy
Identifiers
URN: urn:nbn:se:oru:diva-70228ISBN: 978-91-7529-270-0 (print)OAI: oai:DiVA.org:oru-70228DiVA, id: diva2:1264013
Public defence
2019-01-18, Örebro universitet, Forumhuset, Hörsal F, Fakultetsgatan 1, Örebro, 13:15 (English)
Opponent
Supervisors
Available from: 2018-11-19 Created: 2018-11-19 Last updated: 2018-12-21Bibliographically approved
List of papers
1. Enacted realities in teachers' experiences: bringing materialism into pragmatism
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Enacted realities in teachers' experiences: bringing materialism into pragmatism
2017 (English)In: Journal of Curriculum Studies, ISSN 0022-0272, E-ISSN 1366-5839, Vol. 49, no 1, p. 96-110Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

In this article we explore factors that constitute the social' for the teacher Susan, which at the same time highlights ethical aspects of the exercise of her profession. We meet her in a situation where she is setting grades, and our interest focuses on the relations that become of concern for her in her professional task to give the students their grades. In this exploration, we recognize the renewal of interest in realism and examine the possible links that can be drawn between transactional realism, as a pragmatic view, and the new materialism, here represented by actor-network theory. Building on a narrative from an interview with a named teacher in a daily newspaper, the empirical study focuses on actors constituting Susan's reality when grading. Our argument is that in order to understand the complex levels of aspects that influence teachers' actions, it is necessary to start from the local and from there trace the human and material factors that may affect teachers' room for action. Bringing material aspects into the consideration of Susan's situation helps us see that technology itself changes time and spaces and moves the action of grading into spaces outside her professional sphere.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Taylor & Francis, 2017
Keywords
Transactional realism, actor-network theory, assessment, teacher agency
National Category
Educational Sciences
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:oru:diva-56159 (URN)10.1080/00220272.2016.1205139 (DOI)000393180800007 ()2-s2.0-85008517923 (Scopus ID)
Available from: 2017-03-07 Created: 2017-03-07 Last updated: 2018-12-20Bibliographically approved
2. Tracing reading to the dark side: investigating the policy producing reading and readers in detention homes
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Tracing reading to the dark side: investigating the policy producing reading and readers in detention homes
2018 (English)In: Discourse. Studies in the Cultural Politics of Education, ISSN 0159-6306, E-ISSN 1469-3739, Vol. 39, no 6, p. 887-900Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

Both inside and outside educational settings, reading literature is emphasized as something good, perhaps even something that makes us better people. This paper aims to open the 'black-boxed' conception of reading by studying how reading and (non)readers are conceptualized in relation to young people taken into custody. I examine a policy document describing a reading project in detention homes for young people as a case in which reading is perceived as having specific effects. Actor-network theory is used as a methodological approach to call attention to the way ideas, values, and knowledge about educational content are produced. The analysis shows that the seemingly coherent policy document produces radically different versions of what reading is and who the readers and non-readers are. I conclude that conceptualizations of reading and literacy always involve the creation of 'a dark side of reading'; the strong construction of 'reading as doing good' has marginalizing effects.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Routledge, 2018
Keywords
Literature instruction, reading projects, literacy policy, critical literacy, marginalized readers, detention homes, actor-network theory
National Category
Educational Sciences
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:oru:diva-70038 (URN)10.1080/01596306.2017.1306486 (DOI)000447703800005 ()
Available from: 2018-11-07 Created: 2018-11-07 Last updated: 2018-12-20Bibliographically approved
3. Starless Nights: Reading literature in a "critical space"
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Starless Nights: Reading literature in a "critical space"
(English)Manuscript (preprint) (Other academic)
National Category
Pedagogy
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:oru:diva-70843 (URN)
Available from: 2018-12-20 Created: 2018-12-20 Last updated: 2018-12-20Bibliographically approved
4. The wing chair: Where is the critical in literacy?
Open this publication in new window or tab >>The wing chair: Where is the critical in literacy?
(English)Manuscript (preprint) (Other academic)
National Category
Pedagogy
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:oru:diva-70844 (URN)
Available from: 2018-12-20 Created: 2018-12-20 Last updated: 2018-12-20Bibliographically approved
5. Creating the valuable: Reading as a matter of health and successful parenthood
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Creating the valuable: Reading as a matter of health and successful parenthood
(English)Manuscript (preprint) (Other academic)
National Category
Pedagogy
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:oru:diva-70845 (URN)
Available from: 2018-12-20 Created: 2018-12-20 Last updated: 2018-12-20Bibliographically approved

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Sundström Sjödin, Elin

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