Chronotopic Lamination: Tracing the Contours of Literate Activity

Paul A Prior, Jody Shipka

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter


This chapter explores the chronotopic lamination (Bakhtin, 1981; Prior, 1998) of writers’ literate activity—the dispersed, fluid chains of places, times, people, and artifacts that come to be tied together in trajectories of literate action along with the ways multiple activity footings are held and managed. Twenty-one academic writers (undergraduates, graduates, and professors) participated in interviews where they were asked to draw and then discuss two representations of their processes in writing a particular piece. To further explore writers' multiple streams of activity and the ways texts mediate that activity, we also asked participants to share drafts, final texts, notes, annotated readings or other material they used in their writing. We focus here on four case studies that illustrate our findings. The interviews showed that the writers’ work crossed institutional settings, especially mixing home, community, and discipline, and thus was deeply laminated (multimotivational and multi-mediated). In particular, we found that writers actively engage in what we call ESSP’s (environment selecting and structuring practices), which not only lead to their texts but also contribute to the distributed, delicate, and partly intentional management of affect, sense, identity, and consciousness.
Original languageEnglish (US)
Title of host publicationWriting Selves, Writing Societies
Subtitle of host publicationResearch from Activity Perspectives
EditorsCharles Bazerman, David Russell
Place of PublicationFort Collins
PublisherThe WAC Clearinghouse and Mind, Culture, and Activity
StatePublished - 2003

Publication series

NamePerspectives on Writing


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