The Case of the Missing Childhoods: Methodological Notes for Composing Children in Writing Studies

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Abstract

Writing studies has been an intellectual playground dominated by the "big kids." If we are to understand how writing becomes "relevant" to children as children, then we must study them, not for who they are becoming, but for who they are in life spaces shared with other children. This essay on the methodology entailed in studying writing in young school children's worlds rests on a cultural studies perspective on childhoods and plays with a sociocultural perspective on literacy development. The methodological challenges entail (a) researcher positionality that allows a dynamic, multilayered view of classroom contexts; (b) data collection decisions allowing one to trace the trajectories of official and unofficial (child-controlled) communicative practices and their interplay; (c) a socially embedded view of the semiotics and functionality of literacy; and (d) a global consciousness that constrains a long-standing rush to generalization based on observational studies of Western, often privileged children.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)399-427
Number of pages29
JournalWritten Communication
Volume30
Issue number4
DOIs
StatePublished - Oct 1 2013

Keywords

  • ethnography
  • global perspective
  • peer culture
  • schooling
  • writing development
  • young children

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Communication
  • Literature and Literary Theory

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