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English Teaching: Practice and Critique, v4 n1 p20-39 May 2005

Literacy education is at a crossroads. While traditional school experiences still prize disembodied experiences of reading print-based texts as the pinnacle of sound education, informal learning experiences provide fruitful examples of the ways that visual texts are read as they are embodied by readers. In this paper I draw from the literacy lives of two, Grade 8 boys to illustrate how their popular culture interests become a means of reading their bodies as visual texts that ultimately define them and allow them to define themselves in relation to their peers. Using poststructural theories, data are analyzed using Barthes' theories of plaisir, jouissance, and the anachronic subject, Foucault's theory of power, and Deleuze and Guattari's theory of the assemblage. The paper also discusses a projection for future conceptualizations of literacy education, one that validates youngsters' readings of their embodiment of visual texts as they use print-based texts to create notions of self.

Descriptors: Literacy Education, Popular Culture, Grade 8, Males, Informal Education, Reader Text Relationship, Human Body, Cognitive Processes, Holistic Approach, Recreational Reading, Peer Relationship, Visual Aids

Wilf Malcolm Institute for Educational Research, University of Waikato. PB 3105, Hamilton, New Zealand. Tel: +64-7-858-5171; Fax: +64-7-838-4712; e-mail: wmier[at]; Web site:

Autor: Hagood, Margaret C.


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