Popular Culture and Literacy Practices

Authored by: Donna E. Alvermann

Handbook of Reading Research

Print publication date:  October  2010
Online publication date:  March  2011

Print ISBN: 9780805853421
eBook ISBN: 9780203840412
Adobe ISBN: 9781136891427

10.4324/9780203840412.ch23

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Abstract

Although the term popular culture may evoke notions of the ephemeral, literacy researchers’ interest in this topic seems neither transient nor narrowly focused. Part of this interest stems no doubt from the increased visibility of research on social practices that involve reading and writing as well as other forms of communication (e.g., still and moving images, sounds, gestures, and embodied performances) within a popular culture context. Broadening the definition of text to include more than its linguistic features is another factor that accounts for increased attention to popular culture and literacy practices. Beyond these two influences are the ubiquitous technologies for transporting young and old alike into virtual worlds where the distinction between online and offline spaces is sometimes blurred to the point that popular culture texts produced and consumed in one space for fun and relaxation often become objects of intense study and work in another. The questions and sometimes full-scale debates that arise from popular culture’s increased presence in the field of literacy education are prompting researchers to design studies aimed at better understanding the implications of this phenomenon and the directions in which it may go.

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