I understand literacies as sociocultural practices, as skills and abilities that allow communication and participation in society and culture. My approach combines recent theoretical developments in the field of sociolinguistics, media studies, and literacies. This perspective is heavily influenced by what Gee ( 1996) calls the "new" literacy studies. Human practices are meaningful ways of doing things. Practice, production, distribution, exchange, refinement, negotiation, contestation of meaning.
AS Knoble and Lankshear states, "There is no practice without meaning, just as there is no meaning outside practice." "there is no one singular phenomenon that is literacy. Rather, there are many literacies...."
Approaches to literacy are not neutral. They are related to power, knowledge, politic and economic ends.
Literacies involve social behaviors. Contexts of teaching/learning and of use of literacies are meaningful social and cultural practices. They are not decontextualized.
What is the relationship of literacies to cultural capital? Are they a form of cultural capital? can they also be a form of social capital? What is the relationship of literacies with social and cultural capital? Are all literacies cultural and social capitals? are they resources or means for gaining and mobilizing resources? are they both?
Who and what is shaping how latino/hispanic youth acquire and use literacies? information literacy? Media literacy? Digital literacy? new literacies? How are they using those literacies? in what contexts?
What are the sites of acquisition, and use of literacies? what are their contexts? What is the advantage of looking at specific realms, arenas or spheres? for instance the social realm of the home, the afterschool, a search engine, social network sites or the entire WWW? Are those social realms sites for literacies? What kind of cultural and social participation happens in those realms? and how acquiring and using literacies in those realms minimalize or maximisize participation? increases or decreases power, control, desicion-making? increases social and cultural capitals? increases access to resources?
Literacies, as social and cultural practices, are also acts of identity. Identities, for new literacies, are dynamic, multiple, negotiable, changeable, mutable. An interesting insight of this research project is to understand and describe how the identities of latino/hispanic youth are also dynamic, and adaptable to different contexts, according to the literacies that are used and acquired in everyday lives. Understanding how multiple identities are articulated across different contexts can also reveal the different kinds of participation and agency that young people have.
The new literacies are also part of a set of multiliteracies, or a complex literacy made up of many different abilities and skills. Each of them, appart doesn't work. instead they are interrelated. In some context, one kind of literacy is more prominent than other. However they are interrelated.