A New Literacies Sampler. Edited by Michele Knobel and Colin Lankshear. 2007

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Learning to read and write particular kinds of texts, in particular social contexts. Immersion in social practices where participants "not only read texts of this type in this way but also talk about such texts in certain ways, hold certain attitudes and values about them, socially interact over them in certain ways." (Gee, Hull, Lankshear, 1996)

There are many social practices and conceptions of reading and writing. "There is no one singular phenomenon that is literacy. Rather, there are many literacies...." 2


Sociocultural definitions of "literacies"

make sense of reading, writing, and meaning-making as integral elements of social practices

Gee (1996) defines literacy in relation to Discourses : socially recognized ways of using language, gestures, and other semiotics, as well as ways of thinking, believing, feeling, valuing, acting/doing and interacting in relation to people and things, such that we can be identified and recognized as being a member of a socially meaningful group or playing a socially meaningful role

the context of all language use is some specific social practice which is always part of some Discourse


Gee (1996) defines literacy "as mastery (fluent performance) of a secondary Discourse" >> to be literate is to handle all aspects of competent performance of the Discourse.


Literacies as "socially recognized ways of generating, communicating and negotiating meaningful content through the medium of encoded texts within contexts of participation in Discourses (or as members of Dicourses)" (Lankshear and Knobel 2006)

Literacies as social practices : socially recognized ways of doing things >>> using a symbol system and a technology for producing and disseminating >>> appplying the knowledge of reading and writing for specific purposes in specific contexts of use.


Literacy is like a family of practices>>> It starts at home. This is way the home and family environment is so important for mastering discourse. The primary discourse is learned and practiced in the domestic sphere. >>>> Socially and patterned activities : letter writing, keeping records, a diary, posting announcements.

literacies involve much more than simply producing and negotiating texts pers se>> participation and membership of a Discourse


Internet resources

Understanding the internet, online practices, and online "content" >>> "Almost anything available online becomes a resource for diverse kinds of meaning making. In many cases the meanings that are made will not be intelligible to people at large or, in some cases, to many people at all. Some might be shared only by 'insiders' of quite small interest groups or cliques." 5


When are ltieracies "new"?

"the more a literacy practice privileges participation over publishing, distributed expertise over centralized expertise, collective intelligence over individual possessive intelligence, collaboration over individuated authorship, dispersion over scarcity, sharing over ownership, experimentation over "normalization," innovation and evolution over stability and fixity, creative-innovative rule breaking over generic purity and policing, relationship over information broadcast, and so on, the more we should regard it as a "new" literacy. New technologies enable and enhance these practices, often in ways that are stunning in their sophistication and breathtaking in their scale." 21

new literacies are constituted by "new technical stuff" as well as "new ethos stuff"

new practices emerging in a context of new technologies, forms of communication, and economic flow


new literacies have new "technical stuff" (digital) and new "ethos stuff" 7


new literacies mobilize "very different kinds of values and priorities and sensibilities than the literacies we are familiar with. 7

new technical stuff:: enables people to build and participate in literacy practices that involve different kind of values, sensibilities, norms, and procedures, and so on from those that characterize conventional literacies. 7



New Technical Stuff

Different kind of expressive media is available to everyday people :: computer software : desktop publishing software : image, photo, word processors,etc.

Diverse practices of remixing become popular : original materials are copied, cut, spliced, edited, reworked, and mixed into a new creation >>> ordinary people can achieve quality products >>.

  • Machinima animations : using video game animation engines and computer generated imagery (CGI) to render new animated texts on their desktop computers. >>. using tools found within the game engine, like camera angle options, backgrounds, characters, settings, etc available in the game.
  • Music sampling and remix using desktop computers and audio editing software >> software allows users to convert music files from cds into an editable format, edit and splice sections of songs, create portable formats (mp3), upload them to the internet, use them as music for DIY multimedia projects.


tech trends and developments comprising the new technical stuff >>> digital and computer technology

"quantum shift beyond typographic means of text production as well as beyond analogue forms of sound and image production." 9

tech can be used to do in new ways the same kinds of things previously known or can be integrated into literacy practices that in some significant sense represent new phenomena.

new in relation to the conventional literacy practices established during the era of print and analogue forms of representation



New "ethos stuff"

new literacies involve different "ethos stuff", different to conventional literacies.


"new literacies are more 'participatory,' 'collaborative,' and 'distributed' in nature than conventional literacies. That is, they are less 'published,' 'individuated,' and 'author-centric' than conventional literacies. They are also less 'expert-dominated' than conventional literacies." 9

difference in ethos ::: a larger historical and social phenomenon that involves the fracturing of space accompanied by the emergence of a new kind of mindset.


  • Fracturing of space

cyberspace as integral to the experience of spatiality of young people >>> new space that coexists with physical space >>> fracturing of space


  • Cyberspatial-postindustrial mindset


Potential of digital technologies and electronic networks

Imagining and exploring new ways of doing things and new ways of being that are made possible by new tools and techniques.10


With information it is familiarity not scarcity what has value >> dispersion has value ::: information as a relationship ::: the more is going back and forth the higher value >>> dispersion of information as value : potential for generating creative and productive conversations, development of ideas, emergence of effective networks


The world increasingly operated on non-material (e.g. cyberspatial) and post-industrial principles and logics. The world is 'descentered' and "flat".


Value is a function of dispersion

A "post-industrial" view of production * products as enabling services * a focus on leverage and non-finite participation * tools are increasingly tools of mediation and relationship technologies

The focus is increasingly on "collectives" as the unit of production, competence, intelligence.

Expertise and authority are distributed and collective; hybrid experts

Space is open, continuous and fluid

Social relations of emerging "digital media space" are increasingly visible; texts in change.


Media space >>. text types are subject to wholesale experimentation, hybridization, and rule breaking. >>> move from publishing to participation, from centralized authority to mass collaboration.

Conventional social relations associated with roles of author/authority and expert have broken down radically under the move from publishing to collaboration

Norms are less fixed in the new space, more fluid, and less policed, controlled by centralized authorities and experts. >>> proliferation of textual types and spaces :: there is always somewhere to go, where there will be freedom to engage them, where traditional emphases on credibitlity are utterly subordinated to the pursuit of relationships and the celebration of sociality. 14

-distruption of authorial social relationships


-emphasis of relationship and its connection to information :: significance of information in terms of relationship.

Lessig idea of free culture >>> free to use bits of cultural production to create new ideas, concepts, artefacts, reuse, remixes

-explosion of remix practices ::: express the will of information to be free

- point of remix practices: to be and feel connected to other people and to celebrate a fandom "to participate in an affinity, to make shared meanings, to brighten the day, share a laugh, share one's passion for a product or a characer, and so on." 13e


- the way in which information is mobilized for, or made into the medium of, relatedness through participation in online afinity spaces ( Gee 2004)


  • new ethos stuff >>>> turning the consumption of popular culture into active production: the production of consumption,

for "relatedness"

- diverse "new" literacies built around mobilizing information creation and exchange for relatedness purposes: chat, IM, multiplayer online gaming of all kinds, blogging, photosharing


- Multitasking has become ubiquitous among digital young.

"a lot of contemporary literacy activity is conceived and undertaken "on the fly" and simultaneously with other practices. New literacies spaces are often fluid, continuous and open." 15



  • Web 2.0

participation, interactivity, agency

postindustrial view focused more on services and enabling

collaborative writing leverages collective intelligence for knowledge production in the public domain

participation rather than publishing

harnessing collective intelligence

open source epistemology: encourages free and open participation and trusts to the enterprise as a whole functioning as a self correcting system.

collective benefit, cooperation.

enable communities of interest to build and for relationships to develop among members who share common intersts, tastes, etc. >>> flickr groups


folksonomy: a "popular, non-expert, bottom-up classification management systmem, developed on the basis of how "authors" decide they want their works to be described or "catalogued." 19


folksonomic organization >> tags people choose say something about them as well as about the tagged object.

"The scope for participants to speak their own meanings, find collaborators who share these meanings, and build relationships based on shared perspectives opens up possibilities that are foreclosed by centralized and authoritative regimes that circumscribe norms of correctness, legitimacy or propriety." 20


develop a sociological imagination with respect to literacy, education, identity, and our contemporary location within a much longer history that stretches into the future.


"New literacies like fan fiction, manga-anime fan practices, scenario planning, popular music remixes and zine publishing, among others, pre-date the digital electronic internetworked forms (...) The ethos was there -embryonic perhaps; "waiting" for an enabling technology, undoubtedly." 21