Rethinking the spatiality of literacy practices in multicultural conditions

Year: 2004

Author: Kostogriz, Alexander

Type of paper: Abstract refereed

Moving beyond the limitations of the ‘space-as-container’ ontology (Gotham, 2003), this paper offers Bakhtinian (dialogical) perspective on the use of cultural-semiotic spaces, in particular with regard to the production of new transcultural meanings and hybrid literacy practices as a result of interaction between differences. From this perspective cultural-semiotic space is not a neutral backdrop against which literacy practices unfold, but rather it is in the constant process of change due to the struggle between centrifugal and centripetal forces that operate on the level of spatial and textual politics – that is, between the processes of cultural and textual uniformization and local fragmentation. Given the dialogical nature of space and its relations to cultural identities of migrant and minority students and their literacy practices, the paper argues for rethinking literacy studies in multicultural conditions. This task becomes more urgent in the current educational era of standards, accountability and classroom pedagogies that are not attuned to the particularities of students’ Intertextual practices and emergent transcultural places in which they live.