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Reading and rethinking : the cultural production of reading and readers in research interviews with parents.. Moffatt, Lyndsay 2008

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READING AND RETHINKING:THE CULTURAL PRODUCTION OF READING AND READERS INRESEARCH INTERVIEWS WITH PARENTS AND TEACHERSbyLyndsay MoffattB.A., Honours University of Toronto 1992B.Ed., University of Toronto 1995M.A University of British Columbia 2003DISSERTATION SUBMITTED IN PARTIAL FULFILLMENT OFTHE REQUWEMENTS FOR THE DEGREE OFDOCTOR OF PHILOSOPHYinTHE FACULTY OF GRADUATE STUDIES(Language and Literacy Education)UNIVERSITY OF BRITISH COLUMBIA(Vancouver)© Lyndsay Moffatt 2008ABSTRACTRecent research suggests the need to study how literacy and social in/equality areproduced in social interaction. This dissertation focuses on the cultural production of“reading” and “readers” as one aspect of the cultural production of literacy. Usingtheories of cultural production, socio-cultural and socio-linguistic theories of literacy andethnomethodological analyses of talk, this study examines the ways that parents, teachersand a teacher-librarian-researcher produce the construct “reading”, the category “readers”and social in/equality in the context of “research interviews” for a “university study onliteracy”. The analysis presented here suggests that the participants co-constructedreading in a variety of ways. The most common method for producing or constructingreading was to “gloss” reading or to treat it as self-explanatory. A small portion of thedata produced reading via alternative constructions including treating reading as a“puzzle”. Analysis suggests this data can tell us more about the institutions of schooling,research and “the interview” than it can about participants’ literacy practices. In addition,this analysis suggests that participants produced social relations and values in andthrough their talk of reading. The production of un-equal social relations and unegalitarian values could be seen most clearly in the ways that the teacher-librarianresearcher was consistently positioned as an arbiter of reading/readers. However, someinteractions revealed the production of more equal social relations and more egalitarianvalues. Implications and directions for educators, teacher-educators, teacher-librarians,policy writers, researchers, parents and other stakeholders interested in qualitativeresearch methods, reading/literaêy education, social in/equality are discussed.11TABLE OF CONTENTSAbstract.iiTable of ContentsillAcknowledgementsivDedicationviiChapter One: Introduction1Chapter Two: Literature Review5Chapter Three: Theories of Literacyand Learning16Chapter Four: Cultural Productionand Literacy Education Research23Chapter Five: Analyzing ResearchInterviews as Social Interactionand theCultural Production of Reading,Readers and Social In/Equality31Chapter Six: Method58Chapter Seven: The Cultural Productionof Reading and Readers: No TroubleatAll79Chapter Eight: The Cultural Productionof Reading and Readers: SignsofTrouble and Alternative Methods112Chapter Nine: Implications andConclusion133References144Appendices151Appendix I: Interview Protocol151Appendix II: Transcription Symbols153Appendix III: BREB Certificateof Approval154111ACKNOWLEDGEMENTSThis dissertation would not have been possible without the care and dedication ofa great number of people. First, I am grateful to the teachers and parents who gave uptheir time to allow me to interview them. Thank you for trusting me with your stories andmemories. I am honoured by your willingness to engage with me in this research project.This dissertation would not have been possible without your generosity and goodwill.Second, I am deeply thankful for the kindness and commitment of my committee:Dr. Jim Anderson, Dr. Don Fisher, Dr. Theresa Rogers and Dr. Steven Talmy. Each oneof you contributed to the making of this study in diverse and unique ways. You are allconsummate teachers and I feel immense gratitude for the care and attention you havegiven me as a person and as a student over the past few years. I have learned so muchfrom all of you about teaching and learning, reading and writing, caring and stayingfocussed. This study represents only a small fraction of what I have learned from ourwork together. Thank you for taking me on and supporting me in the multiple ways thatyou did.Third, I am sincerely grateful to my colleagues and friends at UBC who havenurtured my intellect through long talks, thoughtful questions and insightful editing.Particular thanks goes out to Martin Guardado, Ena Lee, Kim Lenters, MarianneMcTavish, Mia Perry, Diane Potts, Jeremie Seror, Suzanne Smythe, Vetta Vratulis, andKari Winters. Thank you for sharing drafts of your own work and for allowing me toshare drafts of mine. Further thanks goes to the wider community of the Department ofivLanguage and Literacy Education at UBC. I have had the pleasure of working with agreat number of people in variouscapacities and Ihave always felt proud to be part ofour department. My thanks to Anne Eastham, Laura Selander, Teresa O’Shea and AnneWhite for looking after so many “behind the scenes” details that made my life as agraduate student and as an instructor so much easier. Many thanks also to MargotFilipinko, Maureen Kendrick, Bonny Norton and Geoff Williams for your encouragementand support. Thank you for the bits of conversation, for inviting me to work with you onsmall projects and for keeping me in mind when something needs doing.Beyond these very personal thanks, I am also very grateful for the financialsupport and awards that I have received from the following institutions: the InternationalReading Association, Killam Trusts, the Language and Literacy Researchers of Canada,the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada and the University ofBritish Columbia. Many thanks to the anonymous adjudicators who saw fit to support myresearch. This dissertation would not have been possible without your support.Last, but definitely not least, I am deeply grateful for the love and support of myfamily and friends. Thank you to my families East (Lesley Mang, David Lang, ChrisLang, Amy Lang, Clea Lang) and West (David Everest, Judy Wapp, Bessie Wapp, JoshWapp) for your years and years of love and encouragement. Thank you for understandingmy need to do this work even if it meant I had to live far away from you and that Icouldn’t visit as often as I would have liked. Thank you to my friends who havecontinued to be my friends even when we have been separated by geography and “busyness”. Special thanks to Meryn Cadell, Jen Currin, Rachel Giese, Graham Giles, ShannonGreene, Charlotte Jackson, Loree Lawrence, Christine Leclerc, Diane Michaud, RosannavNardi, Adam Sega!, Angelina Vaz, Rick Wahi, and Terezia Zone for a!! the meals shared,wa!ks walked and ta!ks talked. I fee! lucky to have you.viDEIMC ATIONThis dissertation is dedicated to my family and to my teachers and students, past, presentand future.viiCHAPTER ONEINTRODUCTIONOne of the dilemmas we all face in social interactions is how to establishouridentities as valuable people. In the current age, “reading” has become identifiedas a signof being a particular kind of person (“a reader”) and being “a reader”, in manycases, hasbeen identified with having a high social value. As noted by Brandt (2001)and Collinsand Blot (2003), the idea that reading is a moral activity and that being a readeris a signof virtue has had a long history in North America and elsewhere. At varioustimes inhistory, “reading” and being “a reader” have been constructed asduty to God, todemocracy or to economic productivity. Through this kind of valuation of “reading”and“readers”, a further dilemma presents itself: how do we establish our identitiesas“readers” in social interactions? Recently, this dilemma has become morepointed asdefinitions of “reading” have expanded dramatically. In the wakeof innovations incommunications technologies and theories of reading/literacy (Cope & Kalantzis,2000;Kress, 2003; Lankshear & Knobel, 2006), people who have long consideredthemselvesto be “readers”/ “literate” are now often forced to question this aspect of their identities.As Brandt (2001) has noted, changes in literacy practices over the past hundredyears,such as the introduction of digital forms of communication, have made“staying literate”rather than “becoming literate” a key task for people in most socio-culturaland socioeconomic contexts.The dilemma of how to present oneself as a “reader” while engagingin someinteractional business closely associated with institutions,such as a “research interview”conducted for a “university study of literacy” may be fraught with furtherdilemmas still.As argued by Heritage (2005), institutions such as courts, schools, hospitals,anduniversities, as well as “research” and “the interview”, often bring withthem institutionalpractices, actions, stances, ideologies and identities that canboth encourage and constrainvarious kinds of utterances. In this way, if you are involvedin an interaction associatedwith certain institutions, such as a “research interview” fora “university study ofliteracy” and the researcher happens to be a teacher-librarian, then claimingan identity asa “reader” may become even more of an issue, as “reading” and “evaluatingreading” areactivities that are commonly associated with “researchers”, “teachers”and “teacher-librarians”.This study examines these kinds of dilemmas in detail via an analysisof howparents, teachers and myself, a teacher-librarian-researcher produce “reading”and“readers” in the context of a “research interview for a university study onliteracy”. In thefollowing pages, I examine how a group of participants and Ideal with these dilemmas inresearch interviews and what our strategies for dealing withthem may mean for those ofus who are concerned with literacy education, literacy research, researchinterviews andsocial in/equality. The central research questions for this study are:1) How are “reading” and “readers” produced in research interviewsbetween parents,teachers and a teacher-librarian-researcher?22) What kinds of social relations and values are produced in and through thistalk ofreading and readers? The analysis here is meant to shed light on questionsabout theproduction of reading/readers/literacy/literates the production of socialin/equality.While much of the current research on what was once called “reading”nowaddresses “literacy” and “literacies”, for the purpose of this study,I am focussing on thecultural production of “reading” as a part of the cultural production ofliteracy/literacies. Ifocus specifically on “reading” and “readers” in this study for two reasons:First, readingand readers were two of the most common words that I used in my interviewswith theparticipants. Second, in examining the data for this study, I found that evenwhen I askedparticipants questions about “literacy”, they often responded with talk of“reading” and“readers”. The data generated for this study could be used to examine theculturalproduction of “reading”, “writing” or “literacy” amongst many other things.However, inthe data set, there are many more references to “reading” than thereare to “literacy” or“writing”. In this way, I chose to focus my analysis on the cultural productionof readingand readers instead of the cultural production of literacy/literacies/literatesorwriting/writers. Recognizing a growing body of research (e.g., Bialostock,2002; 2004;Brandt, 2001; Compton-Lilly, 2003; Prendergrast, 2003; Rogers, 2003;)that suggests thecultural production of reading/literacy is related to the cultural productionof socialin/equality, this dissertation also considers how social in/equality is producedin andthrough talk of reading.In the next chapter, I begin by outlining some of the current researchonreading/literacy, learning and social in/equality that suggestsa need for this study. InChapters Three, Four and Five, I provide an overview of the theoreticalframeworks that3have informed my research. Chapter Three is dedicated to outlining some of theoriginsand tenets of socio-cultural and socio-linguistic theories of literacy and socio-culturaltheories of learning. Chapter Four is an examination of some of the origins and tenets oftheories of cultural production. Chapter Five is an examination of some of the ways thatan analyst could approach interview data and some of the benefits of approachinginterview talk as social interaction in a study of cultural production and social in/equality.In Chapter Six, I detail my method of data generation and analysis. In Chapter Seven,Iexamine some of the ways that the participants and I produce “reading” and“readers” viaan examination of eleven excerpts from the data set. These excerpts were chosenasrepresentatives of typical interactions in the data. In Chapter Seven, I also considerhowlooking at the data as “Institutional Talk” and paying attention to “recipientdesign” orhow specific utterances are designed for specific interlocutors, audiences andsettings,opens up new ways of seeing the production of reading and readers. In that chapter,I taketime to examine some of the social relations and values that are produced in andthroughour talk of reading by looking at the ways that the participants and I position each otherand ourselves (Davies & Harré, 1990), as well as how we evaluate “readers” and “non-readers”. In Chapter Eight, I contrast the extracts presented in Chapter Seven, withexamples that are atypical in the data set. In both chapters Seven and Eight, I considerthe relationship between productions of “reading”! “readers” and the production ofsocialin/equality. In the final chapter, I provide a summary of this study and discuss theimplications of this analysis for educators, parents, policy writers, literacy researchers,teacher-educators, teacher-librarians and other stakeholders who are interestedin reading,literacy education, research interviews and social in/equality.4Given that reading and creating readers are often considered to be some of themost central aims of schooling, this study will be of interest to educators, educationalpolicy writers, teacher-educators, teacher-librarians, researchers and schooladministrators. However, given that parents are included in this study, and given that theyare often considered to be instrumental in their children’s literacy learning (Smythe,2006) this study may also be of interest to parents. In addition, while the primary focus ofthis study is the cultural production of reading, readers and social in/equality, a secondaryaim is to investigate how approaching interview data as social interaction may be usefulto researchers interested in cultural production and social in/equality. This study joins agrowing body of research (e.g., Baker, 2000; Durrheim & Dixon, 2000; Kitzinger, 2000;2005; Ohara & Saft, 2003; Stokoe, 2003; Stokoe & Smithson, 2001; and Talmy, in pressa; in press b;) that is interested in diversifying critical researchers’ repertoire of analytictools and in expanding the application of microanalyses to critical social issues. Thisaspect of the study may prove interesting to fellow researchers working on similarproblems5CHAPTER TWOLITERATURE REVIEWRecent research suggests the need to examine the cultural production ofreadingand readers in social interaction. In particular, the work of Brandt (2001),Prendergrast(2003) and Rogers (2003) suggests that an examination of the cultural productionofreading, writing, and literacy could be a key move towards understanding the culturalproduction of social inlequality. A further body of research suggests thatit is important toexamine these productions in social interaction, as doing so mayshed light on the subtleways that particular accounts of reading/literacy are created,sustained or challenged. Inthis chapter, I examine some of the literature that suggests theneed to study the culturalproduction of reading, writing and literacy and the need to examinethese productions insocial interaction.Recent Shifts in Theories of Literacy and Literacy EducationThe last forty years have witnessed a significant shift in theories of reading,writing and literacy. This shift can be traced to both historical and ethnographicstudies ofliteracy and literacy education. While scholars such as Goody andWatt (1963), Ong(1967) and Olson (1977) have argued that literacy, usually described as theability to readand write, is essential for the development of “modern” ways of thinkingand democraticsocial forms, scholars such as Gough (1968), Graff (1979), Heath(1983), Scribner andCole (1981) and Street (1984) have raised questions about the nature andpower of6literacy. The work of this second group of scholars suggests that the role of literacy inpeople’s lives is often less clear-cut or direct than is commonly held. For example, afterexamining the role of literacy in nineteenth century working people’s lives,Graff (1979)argued that the possession of literacy, (or being literate), alone did not guaranteeoccupational and economic gains. In sharp contrast to popular understandings, heasserted that the benefits of literacy for nineteenth century Canadians were few in theseareas and that “Sex, ethnicity and race were far more important than literacyoreducation”(p.114).Similar, challenges to what has been called the “literacy myth” or the “literacyhypothesis” have been provided by the ethnographic studies of scholars suchas Heath(1983), Scribner and Cole (1981) and Street (1984). The work of thesescholars, and thework of others since, have challenged the idea that literacy is “a communicativetechnology endowed with transformative powers” in and of itself (Collins& Blot, 2003).These scholars have documented how literacy is often used and viewed differently indifferent socio-cultural and socio-linguistic communities. In doing so, they have helpedto raise questions about what “counts” as literacy in particular contexts and why. Thisbody of research has led many scholars to suggest that “literacies” is a more apt term than“literacy” as it helps to capture the diversity of human meaning making systems and theimportance of social context in determining which activities are deemed“literacy”(Cope& Kalantzis, 2000).Historical and ethnographic studies of literacy have also presented new ways ofthinking and talking about literacy learning. In particular, ethnographicstudies of literacyhave lent themselves to the development of an important theoryconcerning “gaps” in7children’s literacy achievement in schools. This theory, often called the “home-schoolmis-match hypothesis” suggests that marginalized /“non-mainstream” children’s“depressed literacy scores” may be the result of gulfs between “home” and “school”literacy practices(Purcell-Gates, 1995; Valdes, 1996; Williams, 2005). Dovetailing withsocio-cultural theories of learning, the “home-school mismatch theory” has garnered awide range of support in and outside school settings. This theory has led to a range ofinterventions designed to narrow the gap between home and school literacy practices.Such interventions include family literacy programs designed to bring school literacies tofamilies and assorted attempts to encourage the use of “out of school literacies” in school.However, as noted by Collins and Blot (2003), throughout this period fewscholars have worked to examine how literacy has been used or viewed in similar waysacross diverse communities and/or across different historical periods. In other words,while recent studies of literacy and literacy learning have asserted dramatic differences inhome and school literacy practices, few have considered how some conceptions ofliteracy/literacy learning may be found both at home and at school. Few scholars haveconsidered the ways that some conceptions of literacy or literacy learning may actuallybe shared by diverse groups of parents, students and teachers.What “common sense” conceptions of literacy, or literacy ideologies, are sharedamongst diverse groups becomes a significant question for educators when we considerhow students’ conceptions of particular practices/skills/subjects and themselves canaffect participation in, and success with, such practices/skills/subjects etc. As argued byLave and Wenger (1991) amongst others, unless people see themselves as potentiallylegitimate practitioners (e.g., as potential readers, writers or literate people), it is unlikely8that they will take up such skills or participate in such practices in school settings orelsewhere. In this way, an understanding of popular constructions of “reading”, “writing”and “literacy” may be a vital move for educators, educational policy writers, and teacher-educators, as this knowledge may help us create effective literacy education policies andpractices. For example, if we find that there are common beliefs about literacy as“belonging” to specific groups of people and not others, then we will know that we needto address issues of identity in order to facilitate literacy learning. Following the work ofLave and Wenger (1991), we can surmise that if students do not see themselvesaslegitimate “practioners of literacy” then they will be unlikely to take the time to investinactivities regarded as “literacy”.The Cultural Production of Reading/Literacy and Social In/equalityA review of current research also suggests another reason to study the culturalproduction of reading/literacy. The work of scholars such as Betts (2003), Prendergrast(2003) and Rogers (2003) suggests that literacy ideologies can work both to reproduceand to challenge social inequality based on such things as ethnicity, gender, language andsocio-economic class. For example, Prendergrast’s (2003) Literacy and Racial Justiceoffers an incisive examination of how some narratives of literacy may be linked to there/production of racist social structures. Through an examination of landmark court casesin the United States, including Brown v. Board ofEducation and other documentssuch asShirley Brice Heath’s correspondence while writing Ways with Words, Prendergrast(2003) argues that dominant constructions of literacy as “white property” have workedtostall the African American civil rights movement and to narrow understandings ofliteracy learning. Prendergrast’ s (2003) analysis suggests that keeping AfricanAmericans9from learning particular literacies, and devaluing the literacies that they do acquire, hasbeen a consistent thread throughout American history. She reminds us that in thenineteenth century, several states instituted restrictions on teaching slaves to read andwrite and that well into the twentieth century, literacy tests were used as a tool todisenfranchise African American voters and to exclude immigrants who were seen as“racially undesirable”. In this way, Prendergrast (2003) highlights how conceptions ofliteracy, including what “counts” as literacy and who is a legitimate practitioner ofliteracy have been intimately tied to struggles concerning race and power.Similar arguments could likely be made about ideologies of literacy in Canadaand the United Kingdom. Although each region has had a different historical relationshipwith school segregation and slavery, people of colour and linguistic minorities in theseplaces have experienced the impact of racist language and literacy policies while whitesand monolingual Anglophones have generally enjoyed the “benefits” of dominantpolicies and practices (Blackledge, 2001). Following Prendergrast’ s analysis, parallelarguments could also likely be made about the construction of literacy as middle classproperty or as elite property. In thinking about constructions of literacy as middle classproperty, it bears noting that, until recently, one of the ways that researchers haveattempted to “assess” socio-economic class has been through counting the number ofbooks in a person’s home (Lubienski, 2000). Although literacy is certainly more than justowning books, for the last few centuries, books have been seen as emblematic of literacy.In this way, the practice of counting “books in the home” as a measure of socio-economicclass suggests literacy, or at least the paraphernalia of literacy, have long been linked tosocio-economic class identity. Given that researchers who spent time counting books in10people’s homes were likely attempting to locate their participants in relation to middleclass/elite families, this practice could be read as evidence that “literacy” has historicallybeen construed as a “property” of middle class/elite people regardless of evidence of along history of working class writers and readers.’ Further research in this area is neededto help flesh out our understanding of the social constructions of relationships betweenliteracy and social class. However, Prendergrast provides an important template forconsidering the relationship between literacy, social identity and social inequality.Rogers’ (2003) A Critical Discourse Analysis ofFamily Literacy Practices alsofocuses on how popular understandings of literacy can play into the reproduction of racistsocial structures. However, unlike Prendergrast (2003), Rogers (2003) examines literacylearning in relationship to formal schooling. In addition, Rogers (2003), unlikePrendergrast (2003), includes an attention to social class in her analysis. In examining arange of data, including the transcripts of two “special education placement meetings”,Rogers (2003) argues that popular ideas about literacy learning, such as the idea thatliteracy can be accurately evaluated by school personnel with a standardized “readingtest”, undermine marginalized parents’ and students’ abilities to resist deficitsubjectivities. Rogers (2003) asserts that although June, the working class Black motherin her study, was initially against her daughter Vicky’s placement in a basic skills/specialeducation classroom, June’s belief in dominant literacy ideologies and her desire to be a“good mother” made it difficult, if not impossible, for her to resist this recommendationfrom Vicky’s “school team”. In addition, Rogers’ (2003) suggests that constructions ofliteracy as a quantifiable skill often make it difficult for parents, students, teachers andSee for example the creation of reading rooms, the precursors to the modern public library, in thecentury by working class men, or the existence of “dame schools” in working class neighbourhoods beforethe institution of mass public schooling (Grigg, 2005; Rose, 2002).11other school personnel to see the capabilities and strengths of working class Blackstudents who frequently “fail” tests meant to “measure” their “literacy”.In contrast to the studies of Prendergrast (2003) and Rogers (2003), Betts (2003)helps to document how constructions of literacy can be used to resist social inequality.Betts’ (2003) ethnographic study of an adult literacy program in El Salvador suggests thatlow participation rates in the program were part of a complex narrative of resistance andco-option, rather than just a reflection of the participants’ lack of motivation or the socialand economic barriers they faced in coming to class. In her study, she notes that many ofher participants actively rejected the discourse of “literacy as power” as accepting itwould mean accepting an image of themselves as powerless or as the “bottom rung ofsociety”. Echoing the work of Graff (1979), Betts (2003) also suggests that in the contextof her study, literacy could not advance a person’s social standing on its own. Forexample, in her observations, she found that young men would often act as scribes fortheir elders when these elders needed to compose a letter to the local Non-GovernmentalOrganization (NGO) or to the mayor. However, such scribes were not allowed toofficially contribute to the substance of the text they were writing. Instead, existing socialpower and lines of communication took precedence over these scribes’ ability toread/write.Betts’ (2003) analysis highlights her participants’ careful decision makingconcerning the kinds of literacies that they engaged or refused to engage with. Forexample, many of the women in her study who did come to literacy classes often openlydismissed written addition and subtraction as irrelevant. These women asserted that suchforms of writing and reading were useless as they could do complex calculations in their12heads. In addition, Betts (2003) notes that participants who rarely attended literacyclasses were often careful to use the language of popular education when theyapproached a local NGO for access to resources. Betts (2003) argues that herparticipants’ use of this specific way of talking suggests they were well aware of thepower of talking about literacy as empowerment, regardless of whether they experiencedliteracy in this way, or held literacy in such esteem. Recognizing the way that local powerholders often dominated and dismissed her participants, Betts (2003) suggests that attimes silence, and not showing up for a meeting, or a class, were her participants’ mostaccessible methods for expressing dissent. In this way, Betts (2003) posits that herparticipants’ resistance to literacy classes and to discourses of “literacy as power” needsto be seen as part of a broader narrative of “livelihood strategies” and as a response tolocal power holders. In recognition of the complexity of her participants’ lives and oftheir active decision making, Betts (2003) argues against seeing “skipping class” merelyas evidence of her participants’ oppression and argues for seeing such absences asevidence of resistance to unequal social structures.The Cultural Production of Reading/Literacy and Social In/Equality in SocialInteractionIn examining these studies, it bears noting that while all of these scholars work toforefront a relationship between constructions of reading/writing/literacy and theproduction of social inlequality, only Rogers (2003) attempts to examine this productionthrough an analysis of talk-in-interaction. Prendergrast (2003) focuses mainly on ananalysis of written texts and Betts (2000) makes her argument using ethnographic fieldnotes.13Similar patterns can be seen in other studies that focus on literacy, learning andsocial in!equality such as Bialostock (2002; 2004), Blackledge (2001), Brandt (2001) andCompton-Lily (2003). While all of these studies provide important analyses that raisequestions about literacy, learning and social in!equality, none but Rogers (2003) attemptsto outline how these ideologies are actually produced, maintained or challenged in socialinteraction. This absence is particularly apparent in the interview studies of Bialostock(2004), Blackledge (2001), Brandt (2001) and Compton-Lily (2003). While all of thesescholars provide clear content analyses of their participants’ descriptions of literacy, noneof them consider their own roles in the co-constructing “literacy” during theirinterviews.2In neglecting this aspect of their data, these studies pass by an opportunity tosee how constructions of literacy are forged in interaction. In other words, these studiesleave us with a portrait of what the world looks like without an understanding of how wegot here or how we might shift into a different direction.Baker (2000) and Hester and Elgin (1997), argue that an examination of talk isone way to provide an in-depth understanding of the processes through which culture isproduced. Baker (2000) asserts that such an analysis can lend insight into how culturecould be produced differently. In the light of the research above that links constructionsof literacy to the production of social in!equality, the issue of how “reading”! “literacy”and “readers”! “literate people” are produced and how they could be produced differentlybecomes more and more important. If we can understand how social inequality isproduced with these constructs and categories, then we will be much closer to knowinghow to challenge these processes and how to shift them into producing more equal social2It should be noted that Brandt (2001) acknowledges this limitation of her study in Note 9 on page 212-213.14relations and more egalitarian values. In this dissertation, I examine the culturalproduction of “reading” and “readers” in relationship to the cultural production of socialin/equality. My interest in doing so stems from an interest in learning how to producereading/readers in ways that encourage egalitarian social relations. In the next threechapters, I examine the origins and tenets of the theoretical frameworks that haveinformed this study. In Chapters Three and FourI outline some of the contributions ofsocio-cultural and socio-linguistic theories of literacy, socio-cultural theories of learningand theories of cultural production. In Chapter Five, I outline some of the contributions oftheories of interview talk as social interaction.15CHAPTER THREETHEORIES OF LITERACY AND LEARNINGThis study is informed by a number of theoretical frameworks including: sociocultural and socio-linguistic theories of literacy, socio-cultural theories of learning,theories of cultural production and theories of interview talk as social interaction. Used intandem with each other, these theories recommend an examination of how reading,writing, literacy and learning are produced in social interaction and how the production ofthese phenomena may be related to the production of social in/equality. In this chapter, Ioutline some of the origins and tenets of socio-cultural and socio-linguistic theories ofliteracy and socio-cultural theories of learning.Socio-cultural and Socio-linguistic theories of literacySocio-cultural and socio-linguistic theories of literacy assert that the termsreading/writing/literacy/illiteracy, as well as reader/writer/literate/illiterate, meandifferent things to different people in different contexts (Cook-Gumperz, 2006; Woolard& Schieffelin, 1994). Socio-cultural and socio-linguistic theories of literacy recognizethat descriptions of various means of communication, like reading/writing/literacy, arerooted in cultural history. For example, Cook-Gumperz (2006) stated that:From a socio-linguistic view oral and written literacy are different but supportingfacets of language use. Literate and oral practice cannot be considered asopposites, rather it is our definitions of literacy that have at their center conflict16between oral and written disciplinary traditions, which are directly traceable toour own cultural history (p.3).According to Kress (2000), a similar distinction between alphabetic print literacyand other modes of communication can also be seen as a legacy of a particular culturalhistory. From this perspective, socio-cultural and socio-linguistic theorists have arguedthat becoming “literate” in any culture is a complex process, intimately entwined withissues of socio-cultural context, learners’ ideas of themselves, learners’ desires foraffiliation and learners’ conceptions of “literacy” and “learning”. This strand of researchdraws our attention to the importance of understanding children’s and adults’“communities of practice” (the communities that they are a part of) and their “imaginedcommunities” (the communities that they wish to be a part of) in order to understand howand why they engage or do not engage in particular language or literacy practices(Anderson, 1983; Lave & Wenger, 1991; Norton, 2000; Wenger, 1998).In contrast to other theories of literacy, socio-cultural theories stress the need toview literacy ideologies and literacy practices, in larger historical and political contexts(Brandt, 2001; Luke, 1997a; Rogers, 2003). These scholars direct our attention to theways that literacy practices including literacy pedagogies and ideas about literacy havechanged over time and how they continue to change. This perspective also raisesquestions about the role that literacy assessment, curricula, instruction, policies andresearch have played and continue to play in the production of social in/equality. Criticalsocio-cultural examinations of literacy, such as Brandt (2001), Prendergrast (2003), andRogers (2003), have raised questions about how current literacy programs and policies17work to challenge or reinforce social hierarchies based on such things as gender, race andsocio-economic class.Recently, scholars such as Barton and Hamilton (2000), Collins and Blot (2003),Gee (2001), and Street (1984; 2000a) have challenged literacy researchers to think aboutthe assumptions or theories of literacy that underpin specific literacy policies/programs.These scholars argue that many contemporary literacy policies are built on an‘autonomous model’ of literacy. As defined by Street (1984, 2000a), an autonomousmodel of literacy sees literacy as something that is autonomous from social context. Incontrast, these scholars have begun to describe literacy as socially situated. Building onanthropological, historical and sociological research that has documented the ways that“what counts” as literacy varies greatly depending on cultural, historical, political andsocial settings, this alternative model, often called a ‘situated model’ or an ‘ideologicalmodel’ of literacy, suggests that literacy practices are “patterned by social institutions andpower relationships”(Barton & Hamilton, 2000, p.8). This perspective argues that literacypractices cannot be truly understood in isolation from such institutions and relations.A situated model of literacy asserts that there is not only one “Literacy” but thatthere are many forms of literacy or many literacies.3This model reminds us that thedominance of particular forms of literacy, for example, the relative importance ofalphabetic print literacy or fictional narratives in school curricula, often depends on whouses such forms of literacy and for what purpose. A situated model of literacy draws ourattention to the ways that some forms of literacy are often thought of as “naturally”Mc Houl (1991) has made a similar argument regarding “reading(s)”. As the majority of the literatureapproaching reading/writing from this perspective speaks more of “literacies” than “readings” or “writings”I have adopted this term. However, as noted in the previous chapter the focus of this dissertation is on thecultural production of the construct “reading”.18superior to others, particularly because they are practiced by people who hold status(Kelly, 1997). In this way, a situated/ideological model draws our attention to howliteracy practices are connected to issues of social identity and power. From thisperspective, choosing to engage in any particular literacy practice can be seen as a “socialact” (Lewis, 2001).The research collected into the two volumes “Situated Literacies” edited byBarton, Hamilton and Ivanic (2000) and “Literacy and Development” edited by Street(2000b) as well as the work of Brandt (2001), Compton-Lilly (2003), Dressman (1997),Lewis (2001), Manyak (2004) and Rogers (2003) has begun to flesh out claimsconcerning the ideological, social and political nature of particular literacy practices,including literacy curricula/pedagogy. This body of research makes a significant breakfrom traditional literacy research, which continues to assume that “Literacy” is a unitary,apolitical, ahistorical skill. A similar break has also been made by scholars interested intheories of learning. In the next section I examine some of the central tenets of thesetheories.Socio-cultural Theories of LearningScholars such as Lave and Wenger (1991), Mc Dermott (1987;1993), Mehan(1996), Rogoff (2003) and Wertsch (1991) have drawn attention to the ways in which“learning”, like “literacy”, is socially constructed. Following close examinations oflearning in post-industrial classrooms and other places of apprenticeship around theworld, anthropologists of education have argued that although learning is usually spokenof in Western post-industrial cultures as if it is something that takes place, or does not19take place, inside individual heads, there are other ways that we could think aboutlearning.These scholars remind us that every understanding or skill takes place or islearned in a particular social space and at a particular historical time. They assert thatknowledge is best understood as something that is distributed amongst members ofspecific communities. Their work forefronts the ways that social and historical context,social identity and power are related to what gets recognized as learning, who learnswhat, and how they learn it. These scholars remind us that our definitions of learning(and ignorance) are always tied to particular social, historical and political moments.What is considered to be intelligent/ignorant and educatedluneducated both reflect andcreate specific social relations and values.The work of anthropologists and sociologists of education conducted over the lastthirty years has raised questions about how constructs like “literacy” and “literate” maybe related to the production of a society in which a select few experience great wealth andsecurity, while the majority do not. This research asks us to think about how current ideasof “learning capacity” or “intelligence”, and current talk of “literacy” and “illiteracy”may reinforce or further social inequality. These theories suggest some constructions orconceptions of literacy or literacy learning may help to challenge the production of socialinequality while others may create or reproduce it.Given recent demographic changes world wide, including the increase in transnational migration and the proliferation of diverse language and literacy practices, giventhe birth of new literacies associated with technological change, scholars working withsituated models of literacy and learning have suggested that “autonomous models” of20literacy, and literacy learning, like static models of “intelligence”, may work to justifysocial inequality as they obscure the complex ways that various literacies are taken up,discarded, valued and dismissed. From this perspective, autonomous models of literacyand learning can be seen to obscure the ways that dominant groups reproduce their ownadvantage by failing to/refusing to recognize the situated nature of literacy and literacylearning. Recognizing the situatedness of literacies/readers can help to raise questionsabout why some literacies/readers are more valued than are others and whether thisvaluation is connected to traditional power imbalances rather than to any “natural” orinherent benefits/deficits in these forms of communicating/these communicators. In thislight, it becomes important for those of us concerned with social justice to examine theways that literacy and learning are conceptualized in and out of schools so that we mayrecognize and address those common sense ideologies that perpetuate unequal socialrelations and values.As Barton and Hamilton (2000), Street (2000a) and Tusting (2000) have argued,an understanding of the ways that an autonomous model of literacy has becomenaturalized over time and how it is maintained will enable us to envision new ways ofcritiquing and challenging this process. Similarly, a close examination of some of theways that an autonomous model of literacy can be challenged may give us the tools toargue for more nuanced understandings in the years to come.Socio-cultural and socio-linguistic theories of literacy and socio-cultural theoriesof learning suggest that an examination of the cultural production of literacy is necessaryfor the creation of effective literacy pedagogies and can lead to the creation of moreegalitarian ways of organizing society. These theories assert that the social construction21of particular phenomena/practices play into the ways that people choose to use specifictools or participate in specific activities. In addition, these perspectives suggest that thecultural production of the concept “literacy” reflects and creates specific social relationsand values (Baker & Luke, 1991; Barton & Hamilton, 2000; Collins & Blot, 2003; CookGumperz, 2006; Luke, 1997a; Woolard & Schieffelin, 1994). This dissertation focuses onone small part of the cultural production of literacy — the cultural production of theconstruct “reading” and the category “readers”. In the next chapter, I examine some ofthe origins and tenets of theories of cultural production. In Chapter Five, I examine twoapproaches to analyzing talk that have been important to my data analysis.22CHAPTER FOURCULTURAL PRODUCTION AND LITERACYEDUCATION RESEARCHBaker, Luke and others (e.g. Baker & Luke, 1991; Carrington & Luke, 1997;Freebody & Baker, 2003; Heap, 1985; Luke, 2003, 2004) have repeatedly asserted theneed for a more sociological approach to literacy education research. As Luke (2003)argues, if we are interested in understanding how to facilitate literacy learning mosteffectively, then we need to begin with a multi-disciplinary orientation to research thatincludes sociological approaches to data collectionlgeneration and analysis. In particular,Luke (2003) asserts that researchers intending to inform literacy education in ‘new times’or in the current era of multi-lingualism, post-colonialism and globalization, and thosewho hope to contribute to policies, curricula and pedagogies for social justice, need tohave a familiarity with sociological theory. In this chapter, I examine what sociologicaltheories of cultural production might offer researchers interested in literacy education. Ibegin by outlining some of the origins and tenets of these theories and then discuss whatthese theories could offer literacy education researchers.Cultural Production and Literacy LearningTheories of cultural production can be seen as part of a tradition of criticalanalyses of education. Theorists and researchers who engage in critical analyses share aninterest in explaining the root causes of social and educational inlequalities. Throughsuch analyses, they assert that current educational systems have generally failed in their23promises to create more egalitarian societies. These analyses also suggest that this failureis not an accidental by-product of a generally healthy system. Instead, they assertthat thecauses of social and educational inequality are infused throughout much of schoolcontentand processes (Wotherspoon, 2004).Critical analyses can be seen as a reaction to liberal and structural functionalisttheories that depict schools as conflict-free, or as unproblematic tools for creatingmeritocracies. Critical understandings of schooling suggest that liberal andstructuralfunctionalist visions of schooling may be better understood as ideologies thatserve theinterests of dominant social groups, rather than as empirical facts about schoolsinsociety.In the last forty years or more, various strands of critical analysis havedevelopedin order to help explain the persistence of social inequality or why some groupsof peopleappear to have easy access to social and material goods while others do not. TraditionalMarxist, feminist and anti-racist theories of education have generally focussedon theways that educational policies and practices work to underwrite capitalism, patriarchyand/or white supremacy. These theories have generally held that socialinequality persistsbecause schools function as mechanisms that socialize young people into theirrespectiveclass, gender or “racial” roles. From these perspectives, oppressionis often seen assomething that schools do to students. Power is often described as a “one way”street,rooted in social systems or held by a select few. Theories of cultural productionhaveworked to build on and to challenge these ideas of oppression and power (Levinson&Holland, 1996).24Theories of cultural production share with traditional Marxist, feminist and anti-racist analyses of schooling a concern with social in/equality. However, these theoriesfocus specifically on the cultural, or day-to-day, ways that social in/equality is created,maintained and/or challenged. Scholars working with theories of cultural productionsuggest that a focus on how social structures are built up, held in place or underminedthrough everyday social interactions can be extremely fruitful. Working with thisperspective, a wide range of places such as special education placement meetings, parent-teacher discussions of “homework”, teachers’ choices of curricula, evaluation andpedagogy, students’ hallway banter and schoolyard games can all be studied as sites ofthe production of social in/equality.Gordon (1984), Levinson and Holland (1996) and Willis (1981) argue thattheories of cultural production can be seen as related to theories of social reproductionand cultural reproduction with some significant differences. In their review of the historyof these theories, Levinson and Holland (1996) suggest that social reproduction andcultural reproduction can be seen as early phases in the development of theories ofcultural production. Levinson and Holland (1996) argue that theories of culturalproduction were developed through a dissatisfaction with earlier understandings of howsocial inequality was created, maintained and conceptualized. Some of thesedissatisfactions could be seen as dissatisfactions with the ways that the processes ofcultural production were described.As noted by Wotherspoon (2004), and Levinson and Holland (1996), theories ofsocial reproduction argued that schools were not “innocent” sites of cultural transmission.These theories began to question the idea that schools were neutral tools for creating25meritocracies. However, scholars working with these theories tended to make generalizedstatements about the role that schools played in the perpetuation of capitalism andeconomic inequality. In other words, they tended to describe how schools worked toreproduce social inequality in fairly distant and generalized terms and they focused oneconomic inequality to the neglect of other forms of inequality. Originating in the early-mid 1 970s, theories of cultural reproduction developed particularly by scholars such asBourdieu (1976; 1997) and Bernstein (1977; 1997) began to sketch out in more detailhow culture, including style of dress, speech and conduct, were caught up with educationin the process of recreating capitalist labour relations and economic inequality. Some ofBourdieu’s most significant contributions were the development of the concepts culturaland social capital (Bourdieu, 1997). These concepts helped scholars to talk about thecomplex ways that inequality was reproduced “symbolically” through the recognition andvaluation of particular dispositions, objects, institutional roles and identities. Throughoutthe 1 970s and early 1 980s, a range of studies began to draw on these theories to helpexplain how social class was reproduced in schools.However, as noted by Levinson and Holland (1996), Bourdieu’s early work, alongwith the work of other cultural reproduction scholars, tended to emphasize the ways thatsocial inequality was maintained or reproduced without acknowledging the possibilitythat students, teachers or parents, could resist this reproduction or could initiate/supportmore egalitarian ways of organizing society and material production. As Levinson andHolland (1996) argue, by the mid 1 980s theories of cultural reproduction:26had come to rely on highly schematic and deterministic models of structure andculture, as well as simplistic models of the state and its supposed use of schools asinstruments of social control (p.7).In this way, a new body of research began to examine whether, and how, peopleactively supported or resisted social structures. From various accounts, it was theintroduction of ethnographic research into studies of schools and schooling that helpedscholars to move beyond deterministic understandings of cultural reproduction towardsseeing cultural production as a dynamic process fraught with struggle and negotiation.The study most frequently cited as a watershed in this direction is Willis’ (1977)Learning to Labour: How Working Class Kids get Working Class Jobs. In hisethnographic study of 12 working class “lads” attending a comprehensive secondaryschool in England, Willis described the ways that the lads were active participants increating their identities and life trajectories as working class men. As argued by Levinsonand Holland (1996), Learning to Labour “forever shattered the image of the passive,malleable student implicit in reproductive theory” (p.9).Critiques of Learning to Labour can also be seen as important in the developmentof theories of cultural production. According to Gordon (1984), a major critique ofWillis’ Learning to Labour was the lack of attention he paid to issues of inequality basedon gender and race. These critiques helped to open up questions about whether, or how,theories of cultural production could be used to investigate issues of gender, race,sexuality and other social structures.In addition, these critiques raised questions about how to conceptualize theseaspects of social identity, in relation to each other, on their own, and in relation to socio27economic class. As argued by Levinson and Holland (1996), developments inanthropology of education and the advent of “cultural studies” as a field also deepenedthese questions about traditional understandings of social identity.In their review of the history of theories of cultural production, Levinson andHolland (1996) note that during the 1 960s through the mid 1 980s, anthropologists ofeducation devoted most of their energy to documenting differences between classroomand community patterns of communication. While these studies have been seen asimportant for countering racist and classist ideas of “genetic inferiority” and “culturaldeprivation”, they did little to recognize the social, political and historical forces thathelped to produce “cultural differences”. In other words, these studies of “cultural mismatch” often lent themselves to an essentialized view of culture and an obfuscation ofdeep, structural inequalities. The recognition of these problems with anthropologicalstudies of schooling, and the inception of cultural studies as an area of research, lentthemselves to the creation of more nuanced understandings of “culture” in theories ofcultural production.The impact of the creation of the Centre for Contemporary Cultural Studies(CCCS) in Birmingham in the mid 1 960s cannot be underestimated in the development oftheories of cultural production (Levinson & Holland, 1996). Scholars located at theCCCS including Willis, Stuart Hall, Dick Hebdige, Angela McRobbie and RaymondWilliams, applied themselves to the study of “the social forms through which humanbeings ‘live’, become conscious, [and] sustain themselves subjectively” (Johnson 1986 inLevinson and Hollandp.12). In this way, “culture” in theories of cultural productionbecame seen as a “continual process of creating meaning in social and material contexts”28(Levinson and Holland 1996P.13). This conceptualization of culture helped to placefocus on the processes through which social relations and values were created,maintained and challenged.What Can Theories of Cultural Production Offer Literacy Education Research?One of the most significant contributions that theories of cultural production canoffer literacy education research is a focussed attention on issues of social in/equality. Forliteracy researchers, such theories suggest the need to ask questions about how theproduction of constructs like “literacy”! “reading” I “writing” may be related to theproduction of social in/equality. In the light of theories of cultural production, we cannow ask how current ways of producing these constructs may work to create, maintain orchallenge inequalities based on gender!racelsexualitylsocio-economic class etcetera.In addition, these theories raise questions about how we conceptualize “culture”and social identity in current literacy and literacy education research. These theories raisequestions about the generally latent theories of culture and identity that exist in traditionalliteracy education research. From the perspective of theories of cultural production, weneed to examine whether, and how, we are working with or promoting essentialized ideasof culture and social identity when we generate/analyze data and when we report on ouranalyses. Similarly, these theories force us to examine whether we are attending to, orobscuring, deep structural inequalities as we work. Theories of cultural productionsuggest we need to examine how literate/reader/writer identities are produced,reproduced and resisted in various sites.29In the past few years, a small group of researchers have begun to experiment witha few tools that may be helpful in pursuit of some these questions. In the next chapter, Iexamine the work of scholars who have been analyzing talk as social interaction and whatthis research may offer those of us interested in cultural production and “researchinterviews”.30CHAPTER FIVEANALYZING RESEARCH INTERVIEWS AS SOCIALINTERACTION AND THE CULTURAL PRODUCTION OFREADING, READERS AND SOCIAL IN/EQUALITYAs noted in Chapter Four, theories of cultural production offer literacy educationresearchers a wide range of questions about the relationship between the production of“reading”! “readers” and social in/equality. In this chapter, I examine how an approach tointerview data as social interaction may be useful for a study of the cultural production of“reading”, “readers” and social in/equality in research interviews. I begin with anexamination of how approaching interview data as social interaction differs fromtraditional social science research. I then offer a brief outline of two methods of analysisthat maybe helpful to researchers interested in analyzing interview data as socialinteraction: membership categorization analysis and conversation analysis. Recognizing atraditional split between research that considers questions of social in/equality andresearch that uses these methods of analysis, I note some studies that are attempting touse these tools to answer critical questions. I conclude with an outline of some of the keyterms that have influenced my analysis and a description of how an analyst mightapproach his/her interview data with these tools.Analyzing Interview Data as Social InteractionWhile researchers like Bialostock (2002;2004), Brandt (2001) and Compton-Lilly(2003) have provided significant content analyses of interview data concerning31literacy/reading/writing,few, if any researchers, haveanalyzed interviews concerningliteracy/reading/writing associal interaction. Recentresearch suggests this kind ofapproach to interviewdata may be importantfor studies of cultural production.As argued by Baker(2002), Holstein and Gubrium (2004),Silverman (2001a) andTalmy (2008), thereare numerous ways that social scientistscould approach interviewdata. While traditionally,interviewing has been depictedas a method for “collecting”participants’ thoughts, or ideas,about a particular issue, thesescholars have asserted theusefulness of examininginterviews “as instances of settings— like other interactionalevents that are not interviews— in which members use interactional andinterpretiveresources to build versions ofsocial reality and create and sustain a senseof social order”(Baker, 2002; p.778).Rather than depict interviews asa method for “collecting” data, as ifsuch datapre-existed the moment of theinterview (e.g. in the participant’s head),scholarsinterested in approachinginterview data as social interactionhave begun to describeinterviewing as a methodfor “generating” data. This perspectivefocuses explicitly onhow the interviewer andinterviewee make sense of each otherand how they make senseof the interview itself asa social interaction.This perspective differsfrom traditional social science analyses ofinterview datain several ways. Forexample, as argued by Baker (2002;2004), Holstein and Gubrium(2004), Silverman (2001a) andTalmy (2008) while traditional analysesof interview datatend to focus on thecontent of what the participants say, analysinginterviews as socialinteractions suggests it is equallyimportant to pay attention to what the interviewersays32and to how researchers and participants construct meaning together in interviewsituations.This kind of approach brings with it a very different orientation to identity andculture than is generally found in traditional social science research. In traditional socialscience research, identity and culture are often viewed as “factors” that can be used toexplain why particular people behave in particular ways. Approaching interview data associal interaction suggests that identities and cultures are topics that require investigation.In other words, while identity is conventionally used either to explain particular socialphenomena (e.g., she reads that text in such and such a way because she is a white middleclass woman) or as a way of classif’ing subjects (e.g., participants were working classboys), approaching interview data as social interaction asks us to look at identity assomething that can be “worked up, played down or otherwise used as part of thediscursive business at hand” (Edwards, 1998;, p.24).Similarly, while “culture” is often written of as a static element or as a “factor”that works to explain why people behave in particular ways, approaching interview dataas social interaction asserts that “that culture is constituted in, and only exists in, action”(Hester & Elgin, 1997, p.20). In other words, in approaching interview data as socialinteraction, culture is not a unitary thing that a group has, but it is something that peopledo. This approach to culture and identity can be seen as closely aligned with that offeminist post-structural theorists and discursive psychologists such as Bronwyn Davies(1993, 2000), Wendy Holiway (2001), Mary Horton-Salway (2001), and ValerieWalkerdine (1985; 1987; 1990).33From this perspective interviews can be studied in terms of how various versionsof the world are talked into being, or as moments in which people do the work of “moralaccounting” for why things are as they are, or how they should be. Baker (2000), arguesthat approaching interview data as social interaction provides a means to investigate thearrangement of “power, privilege and advantage”, or how social relations and values areproduced in social interaction.This shift in focus from “uncovering what participants think” to examining howversions of social reality are “built”, how identities are worked up/down, how culture isperformed, how meaning is constructed, and how a sense of social order is “created”, or“sustained”, suggests an optimal fit for investigations of cultural production as this shiftplaces emphasis on processes rather than “end products”.This perspective highlights the connection between what happens in “researchinterviews” and (what is often thought of as) “the outside world”. Rather than seeresearch interviews as moments “out of time”, or as somehow separated from theproduction of social relations and values, this approach recognizes that researchers andparticipants are actively producing culture and identities even while they discuss theapparent “research topic”. This recognition is particularly important for those of us whoidentify ourselves as interested in cultural production, as to ignore this aspect of our datacontradicts our theoretical orientation and our stated research interests. In other words, ifwe believe that social relations and values are produced in everyday interactions likeparent-child discussions of homework, or teacher-student conversations about literature,then it would be reasonable to assume that social relations and values are also being34produced in research interviews. Similarly, if we assert that we are interested in culturalproduction, then it makes sense to actually examine the processes of cultural production.Approaching interview data as social interaction may also be important for thoseof us who have named ourselves as committed to creating more egalitarian socialrelations and values. Examining interview data as social interaction suggests thatinterviewees are not “vessels of answers” (Holstein & Gubrium, 2004;p.144), but areactive, complete and capable meaning makers. As such, their accounts can be treated asequal in all ways to those of interviewers (e.g.,just as constructed, just as contestable, justas contradictory, etc.). To elevate or degrade interviewees’ accounts as more or lessconstructed than interviewers’ accounts is to suggest a view of these participants asinherently different from one another, as either more or less honest or more or less naive.In addition, approaching interview data as social interaction allows us an avenueto evaluate whether we are truly producing equal or unequal social relations through ourresearch. If we refuse to examine interview data as social interaction, we may provideclear content analyses of our data and we may, for example, illustrate our participants’commitments to un-egalitarian or egalitarian values. These reports may help galvanizefellow educators and researchers to work for social justice. However, taking the time toexamine what we actually do in our day to day “research activities” allows us to criticallyevaluate the impact of our work in a much more immediate way. Examining interviewdata as social interaction allows for a deeper form of reflexivity than is present in muchsocial science research. For these reasons, it becomes important to consider new ways ofapproaching interview data as social interaction. Two possible tools for doing so arepresented in the next section.35Possible Tools for Approaching Interview Data as Social Interaction: MembershipCategorization Analysis and Conversation AnalysisIn thinking about how to approach interview data as social interaction it may beuseful to consider some of the tools found in two forms of discourse analysis known asmembership categorization analysis and conversation analysis. These forms of analysisprovide a means to analyze talk as social interaction. In this section, I provide anexamination of the origins and tenets of these approaches. I include a discussion of why,at first glance, these tools may seem like an unlikely fit for a study of the culturalproduction of social in/equality. However, I then go on to describe some of the keyconcepts in these forms of analysis and how a researcher might begin to analyze his/herinterview data as social interaction.Membership categorization analysis and conversation analysis are forms ofinquiry that have their roots in the lectures of Harvey Sacks, the early ethnomethodologyof Harold Garfinkel and the studies of interaction of Erving Goffman. In the mid 1 960sand early 1 970s, Sacks worked to illustrate how some classic sociological questionsconcerning social order and social structure could be addressed by studying theorganization of talk-in-interaction4(Antaki & Widdicombe, 1998; Baker, 2000). As notedby Lepper (2000), Sacks developed his approach following his studies with Goffman andthrough his studies and collaboration with Garfinkel. Sacks was deeply influenced bydevelopments in linguistics and philosophy and worked to combine the two disciplines:the study of ordinary language and the study of everyday interaction, into a new area ofresearch, the study of naturally occurring conversation (Heritage, 2001; Lepper, 2000).“Talk-in-interaction” is the term used most commonly by Conversation Analysts. As noted by Antaki andWiddicombe (1998), this term was coined by Emanuel Schegloff as a way to highlight that talk is “thick”with interactional business.36In their discussion of Sack’s work, Antaki and Widdicombe (1998), assert thatSacks was struck by the usefulness of examining the sequential organization of talk-in-interaction in order to understand the production of social order. Sacks also asserted theimportance of examining how people use language to arrange the world into collectionsof things or “categories” and how they use these categories to conduct their daily affairs.Baker (2002), argues that this approach can be seen as an alternative to sociologies thatassume a social scientist’s knowledge is of an inherently different order than that of anordinary person. Instead, this approach suggests that all members of society are lay socialanalysts who use, invoke and organize “presumed commonsense knowledge of socialstructures” in order to accomplish ordinary activities (Hester, 1998p.134).While Sacks published very little in his lifetime, and while much of his work wasonly published after his premature death by a car accident in 1975, inquiries into therelationship between talk-in-interaction and social order have continued to flourishthrough the attentions of his closest collaborators Emanuel Schegloff and Gail Jefferson(Housley & Fitzgerald, 2002; Kitzinger, 2000; Lepper, 2000). A significant movetowards popularizing Sacks’ ideas came with the publication of his Lectures inConversation in 1992. This collection was assembled from the notes and recordings offormer students, as so little of Sacks’ ideas had been committed to paper as formalpublications.A wide range of activities has been studied using membership categorizationanalysis and conversation analysis. For example, Hester (1998) has used membershipcategorization analysis and conversation analysis to examine how “deviance” isrecognized in elementary schools. Baker (1984; 2004) has used membership37categorization analysis to examine how adults and adolescents locate themselves andeach other along a continuum of “stages of life”. Wingard (2006) has used conversationanalysis to examine how parents initiate talk of homework with their children after schooland Butler and Weatherall (2006) have used membership categorization analysis toexamine how children organize their social actions during play activities.However, in thinking about using membership categorization analysis orconversation analysis to examine the cultural production of social in/equality it bearsnoting that these tools have not been widely used by scholars interested in critical issues.As noted by Zimmerman (2005), a perusal of studies that use conversation analysis, forexample, could suggest a lack of interest in “social problems” and a deep interest in “themundane and the trivial”. In the next section, I discuss this divide between studies thatuse membership categorization analysis/conversation analysis and studies that areconcerned with issues of social in/equality. I then note some studies that are working tobridge this divide and why these tools might actually be profoundly useful to scholarsinterested in the cultural production of social in/equality in talk-in-interaction and mostspecifically in “interview talk”.Theories of cultural production and membership categorization analysis andconversation analysis as strange or not so strange bedfellowsKitzinger (2000; 2005), Ohara and Saft (2003), Stokoe (2003), Stokoe andSmithson (2001) Talmy (in press a; in press b;) and Zimmerman (2005), note that thereare reasons to see theories of cultural production, membership categorization analysis andconversation analysis as strange bedfellows. These scholars contend that one of thereasons why these theoretical frameworks are rarely used together can be traced to a38twenty-five year or more history of tension between those who study talk-in-interactionand those who engage in critical research. A review of some of the literature suggests thatmany scholars who use membership categorization analysis or conversation analysisavoid and mistrust research that is openly critical or that engages in the examination ofissues of social in/equality. Similarly, a review of critical research suggests that scholarswho identif’ as criticalists are equally suspect of membership categorization analysis andconversation analysis.As evidenced in the debates published in Volume 10, Number 4 of Discourse andSociety, much of this struggle centers on arguments concerning how an analyst shouldapproach his/her data. Schegloff(1999a; 1999b), as a representative of conversationanalysts who are wary of critical research, asserts that analysts must approach their datawith a “clean gaze” and that their analysis should not contain anything “extra-textual”.His advice to analysts is that they focus only on issues that are “oriented to” by theinterlocutors in their data. In other words, analysts should under no circumstances importtheir own political sympathies into their analyses. This assertion has sparked heateddebate concerning whether analysts can ever be truly impartial, neutral or “unmotivated”in the ways that they analyze or represent their data. Billig (1999a; 1999b), a researcherwho is interested in critical questions, has asserted that the assumption that an analystcanremain “neutral” suggests a kind of “naïve epistemology” and “scientism” that mars theusefulness of conversation analysis. However, this debate has also led a small number ofresearchers to investigate how the tools of membership categorization analysis andconversation analysis might actually be used to investigate critical questions.39Rather than engage in the traditional arguments about whether, or how, aresearcher can approach analysis with a “clean” gaze, these researchers have begun tolook at the ways that their own understandings of social inlequality can be seen as aresource rather than as an impediment to trustworthy analysis. As Stokoe and Smithson(2001) assert, just as cultural and “common sense” knowledge are resources to people insocial interactions, so are these understandings resources for analysts as they attempt tomake sense of their data. In their example, Stokoe and Smithson (2001), note that it istheir own extra-textual knowledge of the different rights, obligations and activitiescommonly associated with “girls”, “women”, “middle class people” and “working classpeople” that helped them to see the production of unequal gender and class relations intheir data.Similarly, Kitzinger (2005) draws on her own knowledge of the existence of non-heterosexual, non-nuclear families in order to understand the production ofheteronormativity in a series of after hours phone calls to a medical centre. In her study,Kitzinger (2005) suggests heterosexual nuclear families are assumed to be, and are made“normative” via subtle conversational moves by both the doctors who answered thesecalls and by the people who placed these calls. Kitzinger (2005) uses some of theconcepts developed in conversation analysis, such as the importance of looking at talk-ininteraction sequentially, and some of the approaches developed in membershipcategorization analysis, such as looking at how various actions are linked to various kindsof people, to make her argument. In Kitzinger’ s (2005) study, it is interesting to note thateven though sexuality is never referenced directly in her data and even though there is amarked absence of “conversational trouble”, or struggle, the interactions can still be40analyzed in terms of how they reproduce heteronormative definitions of family andoppressive social structures. In other words, these moments can still be heard as momentsin the cultural production of social inlequality.The work of scholars such as Kitzinger (2000), Ohara and Safi (2003), Stokoe(2003), Stokoe and Smithson (2001) and Talmy (in press a; in press b;) has to begunillustrate how microanalytic tools such as membership categorization analysis andconversation analysis could be useful for examining critical issues such as how unequalgender relations, racism and linguicism are reproduced and resisted in everydayinteractions. Through their examinations of university classroom conversations, youngadult focus groups, a phone-in consultation television program, neighbour mediationsessions and televised neighbour disputes, Kitzinger (2000), Ohara and Saft (2003),Stokoe (2003), and Stokoe and Smithson (2001), have asserted that conversation analysisand membership categorization analysis may provide new means for analyzing theproduction of unequal gender relations and heterosexism. Similarly, in hisstudy of “longterm ESL” students in a Hawaiian high school, Talmy (in press a; in press b;), hasillustrated how such tools could help researchers explicate the production of racism andlinguicism in secondary school settings.In this dissertation, I look to extend the work of these scholars and to raisequestions about the relationship between the cultural production of “reading”, “readers”and social in/equality in research interviews by analyzing interview data withsome of thetools of membership categorization analysis and conversation analysis. Inthe nextsection, I outline some of the key concepts used in these forms of analysis.41Key Concepts Used for AnalysisWhile membership categorization analysis and conversation analysis share acommon origin in the work of Sacks, and share a general ethnomethodological influence,these forms of analysis have in many ways developed in isolation from one another. Inthis way, each form of analysis has developed its own unique set of terms and ways ofapproaching data. In the following sections, I outline some of the terms that a readermight encounter in a membership categorization analysis or in a conversation analysis. Ibegin with a discussion of terms found in membership categorization analysis such as:“Membership Categorization Device”, “Category Bound Activity”, “Rules ofApplication”, “Standard Relational Pair”, “Contrast Pair”, “Category Contrast” and“Extreme Case Formulation”. I then examine some of the concepts central toconversation analysis including: “Turn”, “Repair”, “Recipient Design” and “InstitutionalTalk”. I conclude this chapter with a description of how an analyst might approachhis/her interview data with some of these tools.Membership Categorization AnalysisSome of the terms a reader might encounter in a membership categorizationanalysis include: “Membership Categorization Device”, “Standard Relational Pair”,“Contrast Pair”, “Category Bound Activities”, “Category Contrast” and “Extreme CaseFormulation”. Sacks argued that locating these phenomena and recognizing the use oftwo “rules of application” (an economy rule and a consistency rule), are central to howpeople make meaning in everyday interactions and how analysts can conductmembership categorization analyses.42Membership Categorization Device (MCD)The term Membership Categorization Device (MCD) refers to a “collection ofcategories”. Sacks asserted that talk-in-interaction generally invokes different“collections of categories”. In other words, when a person is heard to be a particular kindof person, s/he will generally be heard to be a member of a larger category of people. Forexample, if during a conversation a person is described as, or behaves in a way thatsuggests she is a “mother”, this description, or her actions/words, may invoke a collectionof other categories that includes fathers, daughters, sons, etc. This larger “collection ofcategories” could be named “family”. Similarly, if a person is described as, acts like, orspeaks like, a “doctor” this description, behaviour or speech might well invoke acollection of other categories that we could name “professionals” (lawyers, teachers,accountants, etc.) or “health care practioners” (nurses, midwives, dentists, etc.). Sacksused the term “Membership Categorization Device” (MCD) as a kind of shorthand for“collection of categories”. The use of this term reminds us that when we observe talk-in-interaction, we can hear how people are described, as well as how they describe/positionthemselves, as part of (or separate from) groups or pairs of people.Category Bound ActivitiesCategory Bound Activities (CBA) refer to activities that are typically associatedwith members of a particular category. Silverman (2001b) states that “categories canusually be read off the activities in which people engage” (p.123). In this way, ineveryday interactions we often infer what kind of person someone is or who s/he is, bypaying attention to what s/he does. Looking at what people do in various interactions or43at the verbs they use in their descriptions is one way to begin a membershipcategorization analysis.Sacks stressed that the ways that a person or thing is described, or oriented to, andhow that description is heard, or recognized, has important consequences for ensuingsocial interaction. In thinking about membership categorization analysis, the fact that anyone person or thing could likely be described by a wide range of terms at any givenmoment may initially seem like an insurmountable problem. Plainly, given the moment,we all could be described using a range of terms, and it may at first seem impossible toassert that any one term is more appropriate or more relevant than another. However,Sacks suggested that in conducting a membership categorization analysis, deciding whichterm or collection of terms is relevant in an interaction is a matter of focusing on how theparticipants in the interaction orient to each other. For example, while a person might bea parent, a teacher, a film buff and a gambler all at the same time, for the analyst, theidentity that is most important is the one that the participants in the social interactionappear to “orient to” or “make relevant”.As Baker (2000) puts it, determining which Membership Categorization Device(MCD) is in play at any particular time in an interaction is “a local matter”. In trying toname which categories seem to be in use in an interaction, people in social interactions(and analysts of these interactions) pay attention to how interlocutors are located and howthey respond to each other. Examining where utterances occur in an interaction, or thesequence in which they occur, can be very useful for understanding how interlocutors aremaking sense of an interaction, or what categories they think are relevant.44Rules of Application: Economy Rule and Consistency RuleIn looking at talk-in-interaction, Sacks suggested that people use specific rules ofapplication in their everyday exchanges, and that recognizing these rules could be usefulto analysts. The first rule of application is the “economy rule”. As noted by Butler andWeatherall (2006), this rule states that “the application of one category is sufficient inmaking a description” (p.444). In other words, just as it is usually considered to beunnecessary to describe or introduce one friend to another using a long list of attributes orroles (e.g., Dave, Kate’s brother, a skateboarder, New Zealander, jazz fan, who has a partin a local theatre production), people often treat a single membership category as“referentially adequate” during an interaction. In other words, people often orient to oneidentity at a time. The economy rule can help analysts, just as it helps interlocutors, tomake sense of an interaction. In this way, as analysts we don’t need to fear that we willlose sight of one of the interlocutors’ various identities. Instead we need to focus on howthe interlocutors are responding to, or “positioning”, each other and build our analyses onthe displays of such orientations.5The second rule of application is the “consistency rule”. This rule states that whena category (e.g., teacher) has been used and then another category (e.g. ,lawyer) is usedthat can be heard as a category from the same “collection” as the first category (e.g.teachers and lawyers could be collected into a larger category of “professionals”), thenpeople tend to hear both of these categories as part of that larger collection (Hester, 1998;Butler & Weatherall, 2006;). Sacks called this a “hearer’s maxim”. This maxim helpsexplain how people deal with ambiguous categories that come up in interaction.For more about positioning please see: Davies, B., & Harré, R. (1990). Positioning: The discursiveproduction of selves. Journalfor the Theory ofSocial Behavior, 20(1), 43-63.45Generally speaking, if a category is brought into an interaction, interlocutors will sort thatcategory into a larger category as soon as they have more information to work with. Thisis not to say that once a person has been sorted, s/he will stay in that category for verylong. Members’ categories can and do shift from moment to moment during everydayinteractions.Standardized Relational Pair (SRP) and Contrast PairStandardized Relational Pair (SRP) refers to the ways that people are often“heard” to be, or may position themselves to be, part of a readily recognized pair. AStandardized Relational Pair is a pair of terms that are typically related to each other andthat bring with them a “locus of rights and obligations” (Lepper, 2000,p.17). Someexamples include pairs like parent-child or counsellor-client. In each of these pairs, thereare certain rights and obligations that are generally accorded to each member. Whiledetails of these rights and obligations may vary, it is generally held that there are somerights/obligations that accompany these roles. For example, it is generally held thatchildren have the right to be fed and clothed or to be looked after by their parents and thatparents have an obligation to look after their children. Similarly, it is generallyunderstood that counsellors have the right to expect payment for their services and clientshave the right to confidentiality. Counsellors also have an obligation to listen to theirclients and to offer counsel. Clients also have an obligation to listen to, or at least appearto be listening to, their counsellors, and to provide details about their needs. When theserights or obligations are not fulfilled then members are held accountable, or are asked toprovide an account of, or an explanation for, their breach in expected behaviour. Forexample, if a client could not pay his counsellor after a counselling session he would46generally need to provide an explanation. Similarly, if a counsellor broke confidentiality,she would generally need to account for her decision to do so. While the “standard-ness”of a specific pair might be argued, the idea here is that there are pairs and relationshipsthat bring with them a range of common assumptions. If a pair seems more unique than“standard”, this pair is sometimes referred to as a “contrast pair” instead of a “standardrelational pair” (Baker, 2004).Category ContrastsHester (1998) notes that category contrasts consist of (at least) two parts,elements or items that are contrastive in some way. There were numerous categorycontrasts in the data generated for this study. By way of illustration, consider thefollowing extract in which I asked Penny, a parent interviewed for this study, aboutwhether she reads aloud to her pre-teen daughter Aileen:Extract 1 Penny (17:33) (ii 263-272)263 L: and you were saying, of course, Aileen is readingaway264 on her own, but do you ever do anything with readingaloud265 with her, even though she can read on her own? doesshe get266 into that at all?267268 P: urn, no, since she’s started reading on her own269270 L: urnhrn271272 P: we virtually never read to herIn this extract, Penny and I create a great number of category contrasts in a veryshort time. In our first few turns (lines 263-283) we assemble the category contrast“people who read aloud” vs. “people who do not read aloud” as well as “peoplewho read47on their own” and “people who do not read on their own”. I initiate these contraststhrough my question concerning whether Penny “reads aloud” to Aileen “even though”she can read “on her own”. In doing so, I also create a contingent category contrastbetween Aileen “before she could read on her own” and Aileen “now that she can read onher own”. In her reply, Penny aligns herself with my construction of reading as anactivity that can be divided into these phases/versions and of readers who can be dividedinto these categories, by using the exact phrase I have just used (“reading on her own”)and by adding “started to” to our description of Aileen’s reading. In doing so, Pennyindicates another agreement with my suggestion that there was a time when Aileen didnot read on her own, or when she was in the category “people who do not read on theirown”, even if she does so now. In this way, we both work to create a number of categorycontrasts for our discussion.Conversation AnalysisSome of the concepts a reader might encounter in conversation analysis are“turn”, “repair” and “recipient design”. Sacks asserted the importance of examining howutterances are “sequenced” in an interaction, and how “turns” and “repairs” areorganized. In addition, he suggested that analysts needed to pay attention to “recipientdesign” or to how turns are specifically designed for particular interlocutors, audiencesand settings. In the following section, I outline these concepts and discuss anotherconcept that is relevant to conversation analysis and to this study, “Institutional Talk”.48Turn TakingAs noted by ten Have (1999), the idea that conversations are organized in terms of“turns” is a core aspect of conversation analysis. The term “turn” reminds us that as arule, conversations are conducted in such a way that one person and only one personspeaks at a time, there is generally only a minimal gap between speakers and generallyonly a minimal amount of overlapping talk. From a conversation analysis perspective,these aspects of conversation can be seen as the accomplishments of those involved inthe conversation. These rules of conversation suggest that interlocutors generally payattention to the small cues that mark “transition relevant places” where one speaker oranother might begin to talk, or where one speaker or another signals s/he is finished orexpects another interlocutor to step in. ten Have (1999), argues that recognizing howturns are organized can be a first step towards understanding what in going on in a stretchof talk-in-interaction. Some interactions will be organized in such a way that all of theturns seem to be evenly allocated amongst the interlocutors. Others may appear to beorganized in an unpredictable way. Some interactions, such as debates, ceremonies andmeetings may be organized very differently (e.g., there may be formalized patternsdictating who speaks when and for how long). Recognizing the patterns of turn allocationcan help an analyst decide whether some data should be seen as a casual conversation oras part of “Institutional Talk” (as discussed below). Casual conversations are generallymuch less structured in terms of their turn organization than are interactions that areclosely associated with institutions.49RepairThe term “repair” refers to one of the ways that interlocutors work to createmeaning in talk-in-interaction. Repairs can be seen as the signs of perceived “troublesources” in an interaction. For example, if speakers accidentally use a term that they thinkmay cause a misunderstanding, they will often stop themselves in mid-sentence andinitiate “self-repairs” before finishing their utterances. Such self-repairs might take theform of explaining their use of the term in question, or of using an alternate term.Similarly, if after speaking a recipient shows in some way that s/he has misunderstoodwhat was said, then a speaker may work to clarify his/her original meaning. Both of theseactivities can be seen as “self-initiated self-repairs”. At times, repairs are also initiated byothers. For example, if you say something and your interlocutor replies with “huith?” or“sorry, I have no idea what you are talking about” then you are given an opportunity torepair your initial utterance. As noted by ten Have (1999) the “possibility of repair isomni-relevant”(p.117). In other words, repairs can happen at anytime, and when repairsdon’t happen it is as relevant to the talk-in-interaction as when they do. Plainly, assumingthere is no need for a repair, or choosing not to provide a “repair” can bejust as importantto what happens next in a conversation as actually initiating a repair.Recipient DesignRecipient design refers to the ways that turns are constructed, organized ordesigned for particular interlocutors, audiences and settings. As ten Have (1999) asserts,speakers build utterances in such a way that they “fit” their recipients. Sinceconversational actions can be performed in various ways, how a turn is constructed, or50designed, is matter of choosing from available versions. Such choices generally reflectwhat speakers know about their interlocutors and how they understand their currentinteraction. For example, adults will generally speak differently to children and teenagersconcerning matters of personal safety. Similarly, children and teenagers will generallyspeak differently to their parents when they are requesting assistance with theirschoolwork than when they are asking to attend a friend’s party. Recognizing theimportance of recipient design provides analysts with another way to understand what ishappening in a moment of talk-in-interaction. The traces of interlocutors’ understandingsof their conversation partners, and their assumptions about their current interaction, willbe seen in the ways that they design their utterances. Recipient design reminds us toview utterances as constructed from a range of possibilities and as the result ofmeaningful choices that may or may not be conscious to the speaker.Institutional TalkHeritage (2005) and ten Have (1999) note that conversation analysis (CA) can bedivided into two main areas. The first investigates “conversation as an institution”. Thisarea of research is dedicated to mapping out the general rules of talk-in-interaction, suchas the rules of turn taking mentioned above. The second area of research investigates the“operation of social institutions in talk” (Heritage, 2005p.104). ten Have (1999) refers tothe first form of CA as “pure” CA and the second form as “applied” CA. Heritage (2005)notes that the second form of CA, what he calls “Institutional CA” builds on work fromthe first form of CA. In other words, “Institutional CA” uses the insights of “pure CA” toinvestigate the work of social institutions such as law, “the family”, medicine etc.51Heritage (2005) notes the difficulty of delineating “Institutional Talk” from “nonInstitutional Talk” as definitions of “institutions” can be very broad and Institutional Talkis not in any way confined to particular physical settings such as courts, hospitals,churches or schools. In attempting to distinguish “Institutional Talk” from ordinaryconversation, Heritage (2005) suggests it is useful to look for the signs of the followingthree basic elements of Institutional Talk. These elements are:1) The interaction normally involves the participants in specific goal orientationsthat are tied to their institution-relevant identities (e.g., doctor and patient, teacherand student, lawyer and client).2) The interaction involves special constraints on what will be treated as allowablecontributions to the business at hand.3) The interaction is associated with inferential frameworks and procedures that areparticular to specific interactional contexts(p.106).Identif’ing whether some data should be seen as part of “Institutional Talk” can beseen as a step towards understanding the data in hand, as well as the institution that thedata are a part of. Heritage (2005) and Wooffitt (2001) argue that the analysis of a pieceof data as Institutional Talk can reveal the “fingerprint” of specific social institutions. Asnoted by Heritage (2005), recognizing some extract of data as Institutional Talk allows usto ask:521) What kinds of institutional practices, actions, stances, ideologies and identities arebeing enacted in the talk and to what ends?2) How does the use of particular interactional practices matter for issues that arebeyond the talk? Are there connections between the use of particular kinds ofpractices and actions in a given institutional area and substantive outcomes of theinteraction, for example, decision making, persuasion, satisfaction and so on?In this way, the study of institutional talk as institutional talk can provide furtherinsight into the cultural production of various institutions or how institutions are createdand maintained in social interaction. While there is no lock-step method for conducting amembership categorization analysis or a conversation analysis, the terms and conceptsdefined above can help to provide some guidance. In the next section, I examine some ofthe steps an analyst could take in conducting a membership categorization analysis or aconversation analysis.Using Tools from Membership Categorization Analysis and/or ConversationAnalysis to Analyze Interview Data as Talk-in-InteractionBaker (2002; 2004), Holstein and Gubrium (2004) and Silverman (2001a)suggested a number of ways that an analyst could approach interview data as talk-ininteraction. Baker (2002) proposes that an analyst begin with an attempt to look at thedata as a conversational interaction by “tracing the work that is done turn by turn by eachspeaker in relation to previous turns and in orientation to next turns” (p.’779). Baker53(2002) also recommends creating a kind of”actional sketch” or a description of theactions that can be heard in the data in order to begin to see how the interviewer and theinterviewee are orienting to each other and how they are treating this interaction as aninteraction (p.’7’79).After creating this kind of an “actional” description, Baker (2002) suggestslooking at the interview data for the kind of “accounts” that are evident. Instead ofviewing the data as “factual reports” about how things are, the analyst can start to see thequestions and answers in an interview as examples of “sense-making work through whichparticipants engage in explaining, attributing, justifring, describing and otherwise findingsense or orderliness in the events, people, places and course of action they talk about” (p.781). After considering the “accounts” presented in an interview, Baker (2002) asserts theusefulness of examining the kinds of membership categorization work happening in theinteraction and within the accounts. Baker (2004) suggests that it may be useful to try tolocate the central categories (of people, places or things) that “underpin” the talk ininteraction and to pay attention to whether there are any “standard relational pairs” (e.g.,student/teacher) or any “contrast pairs” or less standard pairs (e.g., hard worker/slacker)that are being called on to help interlocutors make sense of the interaction.As Baker (2004) reminds us, these categories are sometimes named but are oftenonly implied through references to the activities they engage in, or through actuallyengaging in those activities. Following an examination of categories and activities, Baker(2004) suggests the next step is to look at the connections that members produce betweencategories and attributions. In other words, to look at “the descriptions of how categoriesof actors do, could or should behave”. She) asserts:54When people do ‘describing’ they assemble a social world in which their categorieshave a central place. These categories are in a sense the speakers’ ‘puppets’, whichthey can dress up in different ways and make behave in various ways. These arepowerful statements about what could be the case, how the social order might bearranged, whether or not it really is”(p.175).As argued by Baker (2000), membership categorization analysis provides a meansto analyze the ways that discourses are “locked into place” and in turn can help usto“open talk to critical examination” (p.99). As noted earlier in this chapter, similararguments have been made by scholars such as Kitzinger (2000) and Stokoe andSmithson (2001) concerning the possibilities of using conversation analysis to examinecritical questions such as how unequal gender relations are produced in everyday talk-in-interaction.Finding the production of identities and versions of the world are the last steps inBaker’s (2002) suggestions for “ethnomethodological analyses of interviews”. However,as ten Have (1999) suggests, analysts can also work to consider how speakers’“packaging of actions”, including their choices of reference terms, provide for certainunderstandings of various actions and matters. ten Have (1999) suggests the importanceof examining the options that such packaging, or “recipient design”, can set up forrecipients. At times, analyzing interviews may also mean trying to decide whether,and/orhow, some data should be regarded as “Institutional Talk”. Following Heritage (2005),analysts may want to ask whether their data bear the marks of Institutional Talk by askingwhether there is evidence of specific goal orientations or institution relevant identities.Ifso, it may be important to ask what kinds of constraints and contingencies may be placed55on the interaction. In addition, if this data appear to be part of Institutional Talk, analystsmay want to ask what inferential frameworks and procedures may be associated with thisinteraction, or how the use of particular interactional practices may matter for issuesbeyond the talk. In other words, we may want to ask how the data are relevant to ourunderstanding of social relations, values or the institution(s) linked to this talk.In this chapter, I examined how an approach to interview data as social interactiondiffers from traditional analyses of interview data and why this approach may be usefulfor a study of cultural production and social in/equality in research interviews. Inaddition, I provided a brief outline of two methods of analysis that maybe helpful toresearchers interested in analyzing interview data as social interaction. Recognizing atraditional split between research that considers questions of social in/equality andresearch that uses these methods of analysis, I reviewed studies that are attempting to usethese tools to answer critical questions. I concluded with an outline of some of the keyterms used in membership categorization analysis and conversation analysis and adescription how an analyst might approach his/her interview data with these tools.In the following chapters, I take up the suggestions of Kitzinger (2000; 2005),Ohara and Saft (2003), Stokoe (2003), Stokoe and Smithson (2001) and Talmy (in pressa; in press b;) that membership categorization analysis and conversation analysis could beused to study the production of social in/equality via an examination of the ways readingand readers are produced in “research interviews” between parents, teachers and myself,a teacher-librarian-researcher. In the next chapter, I outline how I generated the data forthis study and I introduce the participants. I also provide details on how I analyzed thedata. In Chapters Seven and Eight, I discuss some of the ways that the participants and I56produced the construct “reading”, the category “readers” and social in/equality.Following Baker (1991; 2000; 2004) and Freebody and Baker (2003), I argue that beyondcreating a shared understanding of reading and readers the participants and I alsoproduced particular social relations and values in our talk-in-interaction and that some ofthese relations and values were more egalitarian than were others.57CHAPTER SIXMETHODIn this chapter, I outline how the participants and I generated the data for thisstudy and I introduce the participants. I include a discussion of my relationship to theparticipants and provide details of my method of analysis. I begin with a description ofthe data generation including a discussion of the interview protocol and the fieldnotesthat I used. I then describe my method of analysis beginning with my initial transcriptionand coding of the data, and concluding with a discussion of my subsequent transcriptionsand the ways that I worked to deepen my analysis. In the final section of this chapter,Idiscuss some of the ways that I attempted to insure the trustworthiness of my analysis,including peer debriefmg sessions and the use of member checking.Generation of the DataData for this project were generated via semi-structured individual interviewsbetween me, a teacher-librarian-researcher, and eighteen parents and teachers livingandworking in downtown Toronto. The parents and teachers in the study wereall in someway related to a single school known as “Stony Creek”6.Participants were teachersandstaff at the school or parents who had their children at the school. One of the participantswas a former parent at the school as she had recently moved to the suburbs. Ibecameacquainted with the participants as I worked at Stony Creek as a teacher-librarianfor four6All of the names in this study are pseudonyms. The majority of the participants’ names were choseninconsultation with the participants themselves.58years before beginning graduate studies. In this way, I was known to the participants as aformer colleague or as a former teacher at their children’s school.I chose to generate interview data for this study because there is a long traditionof using interview data in social science research. Choosing to generate interview dataallowed me to tap into a wide range of previous scholarship and its attendant tools. Thischoice greatly facilitated my analysis. I chose to generate data with these participantsbecause I felt my former relationship with them would provide a level of intimacy andtrust that I could not expect from parents or teachers at another school. The participants inthe study were very willing to take time to talk to me. My feeling is that this willingnesswas a result of seeing me as an extended part of the community. In choosing to interviewthese parents and teachers, I was given the opportunity to generate a large amount of datathat retained some flavour of conversations among people who were familiar with eachother. While some participants were more forthcoming than others, throughout theprocess of data generation I was repeatedly impressed by the level of detail all of theparticipants provided about their lives and by the amount of time that many were willingto share with me.In addition, I chose to generate data with these participants because myexperiences as an elementary teacher-librarian and as a researcher have led me to believethat parents and teachers play a key role in the cultural production of reading and readers.Talk about reading is pervasive in and out of schools. However, it is particularlyubiquitous amongst parents and teachers. In this way, choosing to generate data withthese participants was a way of insuring an abundance of data relevant to my researchquestions for analysis. Although I have had interesting discussions about reading and59readers with people who are not parents or teachers, in general I find these groups ofpeople have a wealth of opinions and ideas on these topics. In this way, I was able togenerate a large amount of data in a fairly short amount of time that spoke to the culturalproduction of the construct “reading” and the category “readers”.Phases and Locations ofData GenerationData generation for this study took place in two phases and in a few differentlocations. In October of 2004, I interviewed five participants (four parents and oneteacher) over the telephone. In April/May of 2005, I returned to Toronto and completedthirteen more interviews with parents and teachers living and working in the same schoolcommunity. Over the period of a month, I spent time at the school recruiting parents andteachers who were willing to be interviewed. By the end of that month, I had interviewedthirteen more participants (nine more parents and four more teachers). The majority ofthese interviews took place in a quiet seminar room at the back of the school library.However, a few of the interviews were conducted in other places such as in emptyclassrooms, on the school playground and in the principal’s office. These interviewslasted from forty minutes to two hours and were conducted in one, two or three sittings.In reviewing the transcripts of the interviews, I noticed that there were nosubstantive differences in the content of the phone and “in person” interviews.Differences in the length of the interviews can be attributed to the amount of time theparticipants had to spend with me. The telephone interviews were conducted in the lateafternoons and evenings when the participants were at home. The in-person interviews60were conducted after school and during school lunch periods. In this way they tended tobe much shorter because there was less time available for the participants.The participants in the first phase of data generation were chosen based on myability to locate them by phone from Vancouver, as I was away from Toronto attendinggraduate classes. These participants were also chosen based on their willingness toparticipate in the study and on their ability to fax me their consent forms. Theseinterviews each lasted from two to four hours, were conducted in one or two sittings andwere recorded using a digital audio recorder and a telephone adapter.The participants in the second phase of data generation were chosen based ontheir willingness to participate and with an eye todiversifringthe original sample interms of ethnicity/race, immigration history and socio-economic class. In the first phaseof data generation, three of the five participants were white, Anglophone professionalswho had lived their entire lives in Canada. One participant of the five had immigrated toCanada from Vietnam as a young child and grew up speaking both Chinese and English.Another participant was born in Canada but grew up speaking Dutch until she beganschool at age five. My interest in diversif’ing the sample stemmed from my desire toinclude members from the wider school community. Having worked in the school forseveral years before I began graduate studies, I felt that I had a responsibility to includeparticipants from a diverse range of the local communities. While my own ideas aboutsocial identity have grown ever more complicated since that time, during the initialphases of data generation I was influenced by a curiosity concerning what narratives ofreading might look like across a “diverse sample”. In the next section, I introduce thefocal participants and outline some of the ways that the sample could be seen as “diverse”61and hence “ordinary”, in order to give the reader ofthis dissertation a general snapshot ofthe group and myself.ParticipantsThe participants in this study included myself, a teacher-librarian-researcherand agroup of eighteen parents and teachers living/workingin a community in downtownToronto. In this section, I introduce the group as a wholeand then provide a moredetailed sketch of nine of the participants who specificallyfeature in the interviewexcerpts analyzed in Chapters Seven and Eight.The details below concerning theparticipants are provided as evidence of the ordinariness,rather than extra-ordinariness,of the group. These details are not provided to imply that the participants were in way“representative” of any specific cultural/ethnic, gender, linguistic,professional or socioeconomic community.The Group as a WholeWhile the terms “culture”, “ethnicity”, “language group”, “diversity” and “socioeconomic class” are often difficult to define, I believe the range of experiencesthat theparticipants and I brought to our conversationswould qualify us as a diverse and henceordinary group. We were a diverse group interms of age, educational background,languages spoken, number of languages spoken, andlength of time spent in Canada. Wewere also diverse in terms of our maritalstatus, occupations, and parenting status.The participants ranged in their ages from late 20sto late 50s. Some of theparticipants had not completed high school, some had secondary education and some hadgraduate degrees. At the time of our interviews, some of the participants had worked at a62wide variety ofjobs while others had held a smaller number. Some worked at jobs thatrequired several years of formal schooling and institutional certification (e.g. psychiatrist,teacher), while others worked at jobs that required fewer years of formal schooling or atjobs that did not necessarily require certification (e.g. educational assistant, nanny,secretary). One of the participants was not paid for her work (homemaker). Some of theparticipants were identified as “learning disabled” during their early years in formalschooling, while others had not experienced this “identification”.At the time of our interviews, I was in my mid 30s, I had finished my MA inliteracy education and I had worked in a range ofjobs most of which were connected toeducation, childcare or books. I had worked in a day-care, at a bookstore, as a secondaryEnglish teacher and as an elementary teacher-librarian. I had also worked most recentlyas a research assistant in a language and literacy education department and as a teacher-educator in a faculty of education. As an undergraduate, I had also worked as a “studentcustodian” for the Toronto Public Library, as a hostess in a restaurant and as a part-timebaker for that same restaurant. I was never identified as “learning disabled” during myearly years of schooling. However, at one point in elementary school I was selected for“Saturday Morning Enrichment classes”. These classes were designed to provide“enrichment” by way of cooking and art classes for academically successful students.Some of the participants were recent immigrants to Canada, some were first orsecond generation Canadians and some of the participants had families who had lived inCanada for many generations. Some of the participants were monolingual, some were bilingual and some were multi-lingual. Some of the languages other than English spoken bythe participants included: Arabic, Dinka, Dutch, French, Italian, Macedonian, Mandarin,63Portuguese, Swiss-German, Tagalog, Tamil and Vietnamese. Some of the participantshad immigrated across national boundaries several times in their lives, while others rarelyif ever left Canada. One participant was born and grew up in the same Torontoneighbourhood as she currently lived.At the time of our interview, I had been living in Vancouver for a year. Prior tothat year, I had lived in Toronto for my entire life with the exception of another year inVancouver when I was doing course work for my MA. While my maternal grandmotherimmigrated to Canada in the 1940s, the rest of my family had been in Canada for anumber of generations. I was at the time, and continue to be, very “under-travelled”. Ihave only ever left North America once and that was for a week-long summer schoolexperience and a conference the year before conducting these interviews. Despite someextended French in middle school, I continue to be monolingual.At the time of our interviews, some of the participants were parents of youngchildren and some of the participants were the parents of teenagers, young adults oradults. Some of the participants did not have children. At the time of our interview, I wasnot a parent, was not married and had no plans ofjoining either of these socialinstitutions.Participants Featured in the AnalysisIn this section I provide more details about the nine participants who are featuredin extracts analyzed in Chapters Seven and Eight As discussed below, the interviewswith these nine participants were chosen for detailed analysis as they provided clearexamples of typical and atypical interactions in the data. Given the level of detail of myanalysis, it became impractical to examine all 18 interviews this closely. Similarly, once a64few patterns began to emerge narrowing the data seemed a useful move in order tomaintaining the interest of future readers of this report. Furthermore, it was felt that nofurther insights or knowledge would be gained by analyzing the conversations of all ofthe original participants as opposed to the nine that I selected to report on here. Theparticipants are presented in alphabetical order.AbbyAbby (all names are pseudonyms) was interviewed as a parent in the study. I knew Abbythrough her work as an Educational Assistant at Stony Creek. Abby assisted one of thekindergarten teachers in the school. One of Abby’s jobs was to walk the kindergartenclass to the library and stay with the class while I conducted a read-aloud. Abby was ablack woman. During our interview, I learned that Abby had grown up in Khartoum,Sudan and had spent some time in France as pre-schooler while father attended graduateschool. Abby then moved back to Khartoum when she was a young child. Abby grew upspeaking Arabic, Dinka, English and French. When she graduated from high school shemoved to Egypt to attend university. Abby studied education at university and worked asa teacher until she had her children. Abby moved to Canada in the mid-i 990s with herhusband and children. At the time of our interview Abby was in her mid 30s and hadbeen working as an Educational Assistant for the Toronto District School Board (TDSB)for several years. She had two elementary aged children and was married. Abby wasinterviewed in person.AnnaAnna was a teacher at Stony Creek School. Anna was a veteran teacher by the time I mether. At the time of our interview we had known each other for four and half years and she65had been teaching for twenty-five years. Annaidentified as Chinese-Canadian. Annabegan her teaching life as a heritage language teacher while she completed herundergraduate degree. At the time of our interview Anna had been working as a publicelementary teacher for fifteen years. Anna had completed her M.Ed several years beforeour interview. As a new teacher-librarian, I found Anna to be supportive and interested inmy work with her students. At times, we co-taught social studies projects to her gradethree classes. At other times, we conferred about how best to support students who weredeemed “learning disabled” or “English language learners”. Anna was multi-lingual. Asshe revealed in our interview, she spoke Chinese, English, French and Vietnamesefluently and on a regular basis. Anna was born in Cambodia, lived in Vietnam until shewas a teenager and then initially moved to France before immigrating to Canada atseventeen. At the time of our interview, Anna was in her mid 40s, she was married andhad no children. Anna was interviewed in person.BarbaraBarbara was interviewed as a parent in this study. I knew Barbara first as a libraryassistant. When I first came to Stony Creek School, Barbara had been working as anassistant to the teacher-librarian for fifteen years. When I began working at the school,her hours in the library were being replaced with time in the school office. By the time ofour interview, Barbara was working full time in the school office as an administrativeassistant. Barbara was a white woman. She was born in Macedonia and immigrated toCanada when she was thirteen. Barbara lived in the same neighbourhood as Stony Creekschool and had lived there since she arrived from Macedonia. Barbara attended asecretarial school when she finished high school to learn how to be an administrative66assistant. At the time of our interview, Barbara was in her late 50s, she had two adultchildren and was married. Barbara was interviewed in person.JillJill was a teacher at Stony Creek School. Jill was a white woman who had been born inToronto to Scottish immigrants. Jill spoke English and French fluently and hadcompleted her undergraduate degree in French. Jill had completed a B.Ed.When I firstmet Jill, she was a grade two/three teacher. She then became the teacher in what wasknown as the MID (Mild Intellectual Disability) Program, a special program that washoused at Stony Creek. This program was created for students who were between theages of nine and twelve and who had been identified as having “a General LearningDisability”. These children did not live in the immediate neighbourhood but were bussedto the school from the surrounding areas. At the time of our interview, Jill had left thisposition and had become the teacher in the “Learning Centre”, a classroom dedicated tosupporting Stony Creek students who had been identified as having “learningdisabilities”. Throughout the day, Jill would work with small groups of students whocame to the “Learning Centre” for support. Jill was also responsible for monitoring thesestudents identified as “learning disabled” and for writing their “IEP”s (“IndividualEducational Plans”). At times, throughout the year, through consultation with a schoolboard psychologist, new students would be identified as needing the services of theLearning Centre and others would be designated as no longer needing these services. Iknew Jill as a kind and patient educator. During my time at the school we workedtogether on a variety of projects including creating a “Environment Day” at Stony Creek.This day was filled with activities to help students appreciate the need for67environmentalism. At the time of our interview, Jill was in her early 50s, she had twoyoung adult children and was married. Jill was interviewed in person.JoleneJolene was a parent at Stony Creek School. I knew Jolene first as the mother of one of my“library helpers” when I first started working at Stony Creek. I had a positive connectionwith all of her three children. A year after I met her, Jolene began working as anEducational Assistant (EA) at Stony Creek. When she began to work at the school, I wasdrawn to her thoughtful and sympathetic understanding of the students and herrecognition of the challenges of teaching. When I was struggling with how to respond toan issue of classroom management as a new teacher, it was Jolene that I often sought outto confer with during recess duty. Her advice was always considered and helpful. Jolenewas the first person I interviewed for this study. Jolene was a white woman. During ourinterview, I learned that Jolene had grown up on a dairy farm in Eastern Canada and thatshe had spoken Dutch until she started school at age six. Jolene attended university as ayoung woman but began working as an arts administrator before completing her degree.At the time of our interview, Jolene was in her late thirties and lived with her threechildren in a house near Stony Creek School. Jolene had separated from the father of herchildren shortly before she began working at the school as an EA and the children livedwith her full time. Jolene was interviewed over the telephone.JuneJune was the principal at Stony Creek School. June came to our school during a year thatI was away on educational leave. I had the good fortune to work with June when Ireturned. June was one of the most supportive and forward thinking administrators that I68have ever had the pleasure of working with. When I met June, she remembered me frommy previous work in a bookstore that specialized in progressive children’s literature. Ilater realized that June and I had also been classmates several years before, ina weeklong intensive workshop on equity education conducted by the TDSB anda localuniversity. June was a white woman and had been born and raised in Toronto. Atthe timeof our interview, June was in her early 50s. June had two young adult childrenand wasdivorced. June was interviewed in person.MarkMark was a parent at Stony Creek who had been instrumental in preventing theschool’sclosure.7I had particularly strong relationship with Mark’s daughter, Aileen whooftenvisited the school library on a daily basis. At the time of our interview, Markhad justfinished working as the editor-in-chief of a national newsmagazine. Duringour interview,I learned that Mark had grown up in several Canadian cities while, as he putit, his father“climbed the corporate ladder”. Mark attended school in English andFrench and hadbeen enrolled in both public and private schools. Mark was also a particularlysociallyconscious parent. At one point during our interview, we discussed the factthat hisdaughter Aileen had been considered for the process of being designated as “gifted”.Thisprocess, like the identification of “learning disabled”, would haveallowed Aileen totravel out of district to a special “gifted” program. When I askedMark about his and hiswife’s decision not to have Aileen tested, he told me that one of their concernswas aboutDuring the first few years of my work at Stony Creek, the school was threatenedwith closure followingthe provincial government’s initiation of a pupil per square foot funding formula. Ourschool consisted oftwo buildings and one of these was deemed “too large” as it had been builtat the turn of the century whenwide hallways were in vogue. Mark was instrumental in negotiating with the local board ofeducation tosave the school from being closed entirely. In the end, one of our buildings was renovated andthe otherwas boarded up.69“Aileen as a citizen”. He asserted that he felt it was important forher to be part of thelocal community and that he didn’t like what Aileen wouldbe learning from the processof being identified or being chosen to attend school out of districtif this should come topass. Mark was a white man. At the time of our interview Mark wasin his mid 40s, hehad one elementary aged child and one child in middleschool. Mark was interviewedover the telephone.MichelleMichelle was a former parent at Stony Creek School. I had knownMichelle as parent andas a volunteer when I was the teacher-librarian at Stony Creek School.I had a verypositive relationship with Michelle and her two childrenwho attended Stony Creek.Michelle identified as Chinese-Canadian. Fromour interview I learned that Michellehadattended Stony Creek herself as a child and that she had grown upin the neighbourhood.I also learned that she had come to Canada from Vietnamas a pre-schooler during the1 970s. Michelle began school at four years oldand spoke Chinese at the time of herarrival. She was identified as needing to attend the“reading centre” at Stony CreekSchool at age seven. She had recently moved to thesuburbs with her parents and herchildren. She had also recently started a new job at a general contractingcompanydowntown working as a liaison between architects, buildersand product suppliers. At thetime of our interview, Michelle was in her late twenties,she had one elementary agedchild and one child in middle school. Michelle wasinterviewed over the telephone.PennyPenny was a parent at Stony Creek School. She wasalso the wife of Mark, describedabove. During our interview, I learned that Penny hadgrown up in Toronto and thather70father had been a newspaper reporter and her mother was a secretary. Penny was a white,monolingual, Anglophone woman. At the time of our interview, Penny worked as apsychiatrist with a special team designated for Toronto’s “hard to house” or homelessmentally ill. In talking with Penny I learned that she had completed a Masters’ degree inDublin in Irish literature before she took her medical training. My connection to Pennywas mainly through her daughter Aileen. As mentioned earlier, Aileen was a regularvisitor to the school library. However, I also knew Penny as a supportive parent in theschool. On one occasion Penny came to the school library to give a short talk to some ofthe grade fives and sixes about her work. At the time of our interview, Penny was in hermid 40s, she had one elementary aged child and one child in middle school. Penny wasinterviewed over the telephone.The Interview ProtocolThe interview protocol used for this study was based on a protocol created by Dr.Victoria Purcell Gates (2003) for The Cultural Practices of Literacy Study (SeeAppendix I). This protocol was designed for adult participants and focuses primarily onparticipants’ current and historical literacy practices via questions about reading andwriting. The protocol used for the study reported here expanded on Dr. Purcell-Gates’protocol by asking participants to reflect on their theories of literacy learning viaquestions such as “Do you think some people have difficulty learning to read/write?” and“If yes, why do you think some people have difficulty learning to read/write?”. Inaddition, the revised protocol asked participants to reflect on their memories of “readingdifficulties”, why/if reading/writing are important and why/if teachers are particularly71concerned with students’ reading/writing performances in relation to “gradelevels”. Allof the participants in this study completed consent forms prior to being interviewed.Field NotesDuring the two phases of data generation, I took regular field notes concerningthecontent and tenor of my interactions with my participants. At times, I madenote of thekinds of things the parents and teachers in the study were reading or mentionedreadingas children, and at times I made notes about the anxieties or excitements they expressedconcerning various texts. These notes also included some reflections I hadduring datageneration about administrating the interview protocol and notesto myself aboutquestions that presented themselves after the interviews. During the secondphase of datacollection, in Toronto, my field notes included reflections onsome of the every dayinteractions I had with former students in the school whoremembered me from when Iworked there. At times, I included information about how I gainedaccess to particularparticipants. For example, one parent approached me, offering herself foran interview.Another parent offered to ask a parent that I did not know if shewas interested in beinginterviewed. Throughout both periods of data generation, I made notes aboutwhat I washearing in the interviews and any possible connections between the accumulatingdataand what I had read during my course work. I continued to make these kindsof notes asmoved into more focused phases of analysis.72AnalysisAnalysis for this study focused primarily on the transcripts of the audio dataof theinterviews with my participants. I referred to my field notes occasionally inorder to crosscheck some aspects of the data generation, such as the locations of the interviewsor myinitial reflections but for the most part my analysis was focused on the transcriptsof theinterviews themselves.In order to understand how the participants and I produced “reading”and“readers” in and through our talk, I conducted my analysis in a recursive manner,beginning with a focus on the content of our talk and then shifting to a considerationofhow that content worked in interaction (Holstein & Gubrium, 2004; Silverman,2001a).The first step in my analysis was to listen to and transcribe all of the interviewswith anattention to what my participants and I said. In this phase of analysis, Igained a generalsense of the data and was able to gain an initial understanding of the contentof ourinteractions. In the next section, I discuss some of the ways I worked toinsure the qualityof my transcription.TranscriptionAccording to Poland (2002) and Ochs (1999), transcription itself is a formofanalysis as every transcription is a selective version of an interaction, regardlessof thepresence of an audio recorder. Poland (2002) outlines severalpotential challenges totranscription quality including initial tape quality, the use of notationsystems!conventions for transcription and the use of transcribers. Fortunately, for thisstudy, therewas only one transcriber (myself) and this choice avoided the needto train anyone else to73use notation systems for consistency. This choice also made it unnecessary to includeways to check that another transcriber had not in any way “tidied up” the data. Poland(2002) reports several cases where transcribers who are not the primary analystsof thedata have changed some of the material that they were working with because theyfelt itwould “read better”. As the only transcriber of the data, I worked to insureaccuracy byavoiding “transcriber fatigue” through limiting my hours for transcriptionto two or threehours a day. In addition, when I wanted to conduct any in-depth analysis, Igenerallyreturned to the original audio versions of the data to insure the accuracy of mytranscription.In terms of tape quality, for both phases of data generation, I used a digital audiorecorder that enabled me to transfer the interviews onto a computer andto increasevolume, slow down sections of specific interviews and replay sections repeatedlyif needbe to capture as much of the interaction as possible. In terms of notation systemsandconventions for transcription, in my first phase of analysis, I roughly transcribedtheparticipants’ utterances omitting any notation of pauses, intonations, overlaps,partialwords, interjections or my own back channels such as “umhm”or “yeah”.In this phase, I often transcribed my own utterances as simple questionsin orderto gain a general sense of the trajectory of the interview. These transcripts weremainlydedicated to representing the content of my participants’ replies. Followingthis initialtranscription of the interviews, I worked to locate all of the direct references to“reading”in the transcripts. I then returned to individual transcripts and began to lookat particularmoments of interaction in more detail.74During this phase of analysis, I would locate specific moments in the interviewand listen to them again. At this point, I re-transcribed many of these momentsusing asimplified version of the notation system developed by Gail Jefferson(See Appendix II).This system is used extensively in analysis of talk-in-interaction (Wooffitt,2001). Duringthis phase of analysis, I began to take more notice of my own interjectionsand backchannelling (“unihm”, “yeah”, “aha”, etc.) and to transcribe the actual, ratherthan theplanned delivery of my questions. In addition, I began to make note of the false startsorpartial words in my own and the participants’ utterances. At first, I made noteof many ofthe pauses in our speech and I thought I might time these pauses as is donein traditionalconversation analyses. However, I soon abandoned this detail of ourtalk as I found it tootime consuming. I then deleted the majority of the pauses in the extractsI was analyzingas I felt the readers of this dissertation would find them distracting. Inneglecting thisaspect of the data I lost some of the fine-grained nuances of the talk-in-interactionof theinterviews. For example, potentially much could be made aboutthe ways that theparticipants and I used pauses to signal “transition relevant places” inour talk or how wesignalled to each other that we were finished speaking or expected a responseto ourutterance. Potentially, much could also be made of the length of pausesbetween some ofmy questions and some of the participants’ answers. In future analysis, I may returntothe data with an attention to the ways that the participants and I use such pausesin ourproductions of reading and readers.As I began to deepen my analysis, I began to focus specifically on anexaminationof initial references to “reading” in the transcripts for what they couldreveal about howreading is produced in and through talk-in-interaction. Initial interactionsconcerning75reading were chosen for this analysis as these moments are often importantsites ofnegotiation. In reflecting on children’s play, Sacks (1992) asserted thatimportant“mapping” often happens when children begin a game, change games,re-start a game orintegrate a new player. Much the same could be said aboutadults in conversation. Initialexchanges, changes of topic and the introduction of a new interlocutorare often rich sitesof negotiation. Similarly, the openings of interviews “proper” and shiftsin interviewfocus can be seen as moments that are rife with negotiation,re-negotiation anddescription. In this way, these moments were ideal sites for a first lookat the participants’and my own use of various categories and our productionof reading and readers.After examining several initial exchanges, I re-readthe transcripts looking fordescriptions of reading and readers that occurred later inthe transcripts of individualinterviews. During this phase of analysis, I worked to understand thepatterns ofinteraction in individual transcripts and to examine how particular interactionsweresimilar to, or different from, other interactions found across the dataset. I also sought tokeep in mind how interactions in a single interview were relatedto each otherchronologically.At this point in my analysis, I returned to the work of otheranalysts such as Baker(2002; 2004), Forrester and Reason (2006), Hester (1998),Kitzinger (2005), Ryen andSilverman (2000), Stokoe and Smithson (2001), Talmy(in press; in press b;) andWalton, Wetherall and Jackson (2002) in order to remind myself whatmembershipcategorization analyses and conversation analysesactually look like. In doing so, I beganto focus on the kinds of organizational features, categoriesand activities that wereevident in the data. Following Baker (2002), I workedto create “actional” sketches of76different sequences and then looked at the kinds of accounts and categories that wereavailable in the talk-in-interaction. Throughout this phase of analysis I repeatedly askedmyself what function a specific feature of talk might serve, what accounts of readingwere being mobilized and what kinds of reader identities or categories werebeingproduced. As will be discussed in Chapter Eight, at a certain point in my analysis I alsobegan to examine the data as “Institutional Talk” and to pay particularattention torecipient design.TrustworthinessThroughout my analysis, I sought to check and cross check my assumptions viapeer and mentor debriefing sessions with a range of other analysts interested in languageand literacy education, microanalysis and social in/equality. At numeroustimes, I wasforced to return to the data and reconceptualize my analysis in order to accommodatenewunderstandings that came out of these discussions. It was one of thesementor-debriefingsessions that led me to re-analyze a considerable portion of thedata as “InstitutionalTalk”. These sessions were invaluable to me as an analyst as they providednew insightsand new layers of rigor and care to the analysis.During the final stages of my analysis, I selected a range of excerptsfrom nine ofthe interviews to help me report on the study. As noted earlier, these interviews andexcerpts were chosen because they represented typical or atypical aspects of the data. Inaddition, the excerpts in Chapter Seven were chosen because they exemplified typicalways of producing reading amongst participants in interviews with peoplewho had avariety of roles at Stony Creek. As will be discussed in Chapter Seven,these excerpts77were marked by an ease of communication, an absence of requestsfor clarification andan absence of repairs. These aspects of the data were takento represent a sharedunderstanding of reading. In choosing these excerpts, I was consciousof wanting toinclude extracts from both parents and teachers as I did not want to mis-representthesemethods of production as limited to either group of participants. Theexcerpts in ChapterEight were chosen because they represented alternative examples ofthe production ofreading and readers. As discussed in Chapter Eight, these excerpts werechosen becausethey spoke specifically to the variety of ways that the construct, readingand the category,readers could be produced. In these extracts, definitions of “reading”and “reader”appeared to be being openly negotiated as the participants andI spoke.As I assembled the final drafts of this dissertation, I contactedparticipants whoare featured in the analysis and I asked for feedback. While I wasunable to locate someof the participants, the member checks that I did conduct elicited interestin the work butdid not create any requests for revisions of my representationsor analyses.78CHAPTER SEVENTHE CULTURAL PRODUCTIONOF READING ANDREADERS: NO TROUBLE ATALLIn this chapter, I provide examples of interactions where“reading”, “readers” andmy interests as a “reading researcher” were producedwith a minimum number ofconversational turns. These examples representtypical interactions in the data.In themajority of the data, “reading” was glossedas a self-evident activity, “readers”was acategory that needed no definition, and my interestsas a “reading researcher” were takenfor granted. After providing some illustrationsof the most common methods forproducing “reading” and “readers” I then consider howlooking at these data as“Institutional Talk” and paying attention to recipient design canilluminate the culturalproduction of reading, readers and social inlequality.Research Interviews as Social InteractionDuring the initial phases of my analysis, whenI attended most specifically tothecontent of my interviews with the participants,I found that we talked abouta range ofphenomena when we talked about reading. Thesephenomena included: the kindsofartefacts that are read (e.g., books, newspapers,bus schedules), the ways in whichpeopleengage in reading (e.g., avidly, reluctantly),how people feel about reading(e.g. love/like,don’t love/don’t like), how people perform “reading”(e.g., with difficulty, proficiently),the relationship between reading and other activities,(e.g., reading and watching TV),thequalities of readers, reading and reading materials (“good”! “real”and “less good”! “less79real” readers, reading and reading materials), why peopleread (for entertainment, forschool, for work, etcetera), the relationship between reading andliteracy (e.g., reading asan equivalent or basic term for literacy or as only a partof literacy) and discreet levelsofreading/literacy (e.g. “level thirty-six” or “high levelsof literacy”).However, when I returned to the data and beganto focus more attention on theways that content and interaction worked together inour talk, I began to noticea range ofmethods that the participants and I used to produce reading, readersand my interests as a“reading researcher”. In the next section, I provide examplesof some of the ways that theparticipants and I produced reading and readersin the majority of our interviews.No Trouble at All: The Production of Readers andReadingIn the majority of the data,”reading”, “readers” and myinterests as a “readingresearcher” were generally produced with very few conversationalturns. Fifteen of theeighteen interviews were marked by an ease of communication,by an absence of requestsfor clarification and by an absence ofrepairs. For example, during my interviewwith Jill,a teacher at Stony Creek School, I found the terms “reading”and “readers” as well as myinterests as a “reading researcher”, were treatedas self-explanatory. When I invitedJill totell me about her early childhood experiences withreading and writing, she respondedquickly and easily to my question, suggesting she did notneed a definition of the term“reading” in order to answer.Extract 2 Jill Interview (2:20) (ii22-55)22 L: I don’t know how many memoriesyou have before starting23 school at age five, butcan you remember at any point8024 seeing people doing, ah, anything withreading or writing25 around the house?2627 J: My dad always, urn, shaved inthe morning, with an28 electric shaver, with a book inone hand, and uh, his razor29 in the other, or shaver in the otherhand3031 L:umhm umhm3233 J: urn, my grandmother always read tous3435 L:umhm3637 J: I don’t really remember clearly mymum or dad reading to38 us, I’m not saying they didn’t3940 L: yeah4142 J: I don’t really clearly rememberthat, but I do remember43 very clearly my grandmother4445 L: umhm4647 J: reading to us4849 L: umhmAs can be seen in the data, neither Jill nor I devoteany of our turns in thisexchange to specifically defining reading. We show nosigns that we need clarificationfrom each other or that we fear we are being misunderstood.Jill responds to my questionabout whether she saw anyone reading whenshe was a child without hesitation,and I justas easily accept her answer that her father readwhile he shaved and that her grandmotherread to her (and her siblings). While Jill describes herfather as reading “books”, neitherof us appear to need any more elaboration aboutreading in order to conduct thisinteraction.Similar kinds of exchanges occurred inall of my interviews. As will be discussedin Chapter Eight, only three interviews stood out in theiruse of alternative methods for81producing reading and readers. The following examples can be seen as furtherrepresentations of typical productions of reading and readers in the data.The firstexample comes from an interview with Abby, a parent who workedas an EducationalAssistant at Stony Creek School. When I asked Abby about her pre-schoolmemories ofseeing reading and writing “around the house”, she toldme that she remembered her dadand perhaps her uncles reading books, magazines and newspapers, andthat she didn’tremember seeing her mum reading but that her mum was“busy in the house”.Extract 3 bby (3:03) (ii 16-32)16 L: Before you started school do you rememberseeing anyone17 reading or writing around the house?1819 A: What I remember is my dad, because he is usually,he20 used to work in the(.)oh where was he working at that21 time, i-in the government office somewhere there,so he22 would-used to read a lot of magazines and all thisC.)my23 mum at that time, I think she she was busy inthe house,24 she left her—she used to teach before,but when she got25 married and she had us she left her job, she wasa stay26 home mom yeah? taking care of the familyyeah? but I27 remember my father, my uncles around, yeah,those2829 L: So you would see those?3031 A: yeah, reading newspapers, books, that’s whatI rememberAs can be seen in the transcript, like Jill, Abby showed no signs thatthe term“reading” might be a source of “conversational trouble”. All three of theseexchanges aremarked by an absence of “repairs”. Neither the participants norI appear to be concernedthat we might be being misunderstood or signal that we need clarification.A similarexchange could be seen in my interview with June, the principal of StonyCreek School.When I asked June about what she read on a typical day she began by tellingme that she82read “the paper”. Just as I did not appear to need anyclarification concerning whatJunemeant by “the paper”, June did not appear to need anyclarification from me concerningwhat I meant by “reading”.Extract 4 June Interview 1 (0:41) (ii9-18)9 L: first thing I would like you to do,is sort of, startat10 the beginning of your day, andgo all the way through and11 anytime you would be reading orwriting anything,so first12 thing when you wake up on a typicalkind of weekday, and13 then we’ll do the weekend after1415 J: okay, urn, wake up, read the paper,skim the paper, skim16 the first section of the paper1718 L: ((laughs)) yupWithin the data set, there were countless otherexamples of this kind of easyexchange. As noted in Chapter Five, these excerpts havebeen chosen because theyexemplify this way of producing reading amongst participantswho had a variety of rolesat Stony Creek. The lack of obvious negotiations concerningthe meaning of the word“reading” or “readers” in these interactions initiallymade me question whetherreading/readers were actually being producedin the majority of the data. The lackofapparent struggle made it difficult for me tosee these interactions as producing orconstructing anything at all. However, after reviewingKitzinger (2005), and notingthather data was also marked by an absence of struggle,I began to feel that there mightbemore to this data than first met my eye. I found myselfasking i/reading and readerswerebeing produced in these interactions, how mightI see these productions more clearly.Following a particularly intense peer debriefingsession, I became convincedof the needto return to the data with an understandingof it as “Institutional Talk”.83In reviewing the data and Heritage’s (2005) definitions of InstitutionalTalk, Ibegan to see how these interviews exemplified this particular kindof talk and how Icould start to see the production of reading/readers more clearlyby analyzing the data asInstitutional Talk. In addition, I began to see the usefulnessof paying attention to issuesof “recipient design”. In the next section, I outline how these interviewscan beunderstood as examples of Institutional Talk. I then examine whatan attention torecipient design can tell us about the production of reading/readersand social inlequalityin this data.Viewing the Data as Institutional TalkThese interviews can be seen as examples of Institutional Talk,first because theyinvolve the participants and myself in “specific goal orientationsthat are tied to ourinstitution-relevant identities”(Heritage, 2005). As “research interviews”,the data weregenerated with the goal of learning about reading/writing/literacy.As such, theseinterviews differed dramatically from casual conversationsamongst friends oracquaintances. Regardless of my feelings of respect and warmthfor the participants, myinstitutional role(s) as a teacher-librarian and asan interviewer/researcher were omnipresent during our interviews. As noted in ChapterSix, with the exception of the first fiveinterviews conducted over the phone, the majorityof these interviews were conductedwithin Stony Creek School or on the school grounds.Many of these interviewswereconducted in a small seminar room at the back of the school library;others wereconducted in empty classrooms. One interview was conducted in theprincipal’s office.84While the first five telephone interviews were conducted in the evenings, whenthe participants and I were at our respective homes, the farthest the remaining thirteenparticipants and I strayed from Stony Creek School was the school playground.(One ofthe interviews was conducted with a parent who worked as a nanny for anotherfamily atthe school. This participant and I talked while one of her young charges sleptin hisstroller and another played in the sandbox). In addition, all of the participantsknew me asa teacher-librarian-researcher. While at times in the early stages of the project Ipositioned myself as conducting research “for my professor” and “for myself’,as I wasworking with Dr. Purcell Gates’ Cultural Practices of Literacy Study(Purcell-Gates;2003), my role as a co-investigator was well established withinthe first few moments ofcontact with all of the participants. My name was on the initial recruitment letterand theconsent form for the study. Similarly, I spoke of myself as a co-researcherin the initialmoments of every interview and the initial recruitment letter and consent form assertedthat I wanted to “interview” these participants.In addition, my access to all of these participants was facilitated throughmyposition as a former teacher-librarian at Stony Creek School. WhileI was never called onto account for why I had asked to interview any of the participants,I generally beganeach interview by explaining that I was interested in learning about people’s“ideas ofliteracy and learning” for a research project that was part of my graduatestudies and sothat I could “be a better teacher”. While I rarely prefaced my individual questionsin sucha way that highlighted my institutional identities, as will be discussed indetail below,there was ample evidence in the data that the participants and I were well awareof whowe were to each other within the institutions of “schooling”, “interviews”and “research”.85These interviews could also be seen as Institutional Talk as there was ampleevidence of “special constraints on what would be allowable contributionsto the businessat hand” (Heritage, 2005). While some of the participants and I sometimes veered “offtopic” and while I sometimes divulged information about my own reading/writing!literacy practices, for the most part, I offered questions and the participants providedanswers concerning their reading/writing/literacy practices, their memories of learning toreadlwrite or their thoughts on why some people learn to read/write easily or with moredifficulty. In this way, our turn allocation reflected the constraints of “the interview” asan institution.In addition, as will be discussed below, the similarities seen across the interviewssuggest that there were significant constraints on what the participants and I consideredtobe “allowable contributions” to our talk. For example, none of the participants eversuggested that they didn’t like reading or that they felt reading was an over-rated activity.Similarly, none of the participants ever asked me any questions about my own historywith reading and they would only ask me questions about my theories of readingacquisition in the very final turns of our interviews when I specifically asked them if theyhad any questions for me.However, the most convincing rationale that this data should be treated asInstitutional Talk came when I began to see how deeply our talk-in-interaction wasinfused with “inferential frameworks and procedures” that are particular to specificinstitutional contexts (Heritage, 2005). When I began to notice how the participantsand Idesigned our utterances in ways that revealed our institutional relationshipsas parent andteacher, as teacher and teacher-librarian, and as interviewee and interviewer, or86researched and researcher, I began to see how deeply our conversations were enmeshedin the institutions of “schooling”, “interviews”, and “research”. In recognizing our talk asInstitutional Talk, and noting the recipient design in my own and the participants’utterances, I began to see some of the “fmgerprint” of these institutions on our talk. Inaddition, I began to see some of the ways that our productions of reading and readerswere related to the production of social in/equality.Recognizing Recipient DesignAs noted in Chapter Five, recipient design refers to the ways thatinterlocutorsconstruct their utterances for particular audiences and settings. When Ibegan to look atexcerpts where reading was treated as “self-evident” as utterances that had beendesigned, or packaged, for the particular audience and setting of this specificresearch interview, I began to see how the participants and I used our institutionalidentities to do some of the work of producing reading and readers. I also began to seesome of the ways that we were producing social in/equality in and throughour talk of“reading”. For example, consider again my exchange with Jill concerningher pre-schoolmemories of reading and writing.Extract 5 Jill Interview (2:20) (ii 22-49)22 L: I don’t know how many memories you have beforestarting23 school at age five, but can you remember atany point24 seeing people doing, ah, anything with reading or writing25 around the house?2627 J: My dad always, urn, shaved in the morning, withan28 electric shaver, with a book in one hand, anduh, his razor29 in the other, or shaver in the other hand3031 L:urnhm umhm873233 J: urn, my grandmother always read to us3435 L:umhm3637 J: I don’t really remember clearly my mum or dad readingto38 us, I’m not saying they didn’t3940 L: yeah4142 J: I don’t really clearly remember that, but I doremember43 very clearly my grandmother4445 L: umhm4647 J: reading to us4849 L: umhmOne of the ways that we can look at how reading is produced in an exchange likethis, where reading is “glossed”, is to look at my own and Jill’s utterancesas designedspecifically for each other and for this setting. In other words, we canlook at thisexchange as a moment where Jill and I are effectively defining readingand readers in thecontext of our interaction as a research interview betweena teacher-librarian-researcher and a fellow teacher. That we appear tospend so little energy negotiatingreading in this exchange, could be attributed to the fact that duringour conversation Jilland I were well aware that as a teacher and as a teacher-librarian-researcher,we weresupposed to know what reading was and what readers did to make themreaders.Teachers, teacher-librarians and researchers who are attachedto faculties ofeducation as I was at the time of this interview, can be seen as membersof a largercollection of categories known as “education professionals”. The factthat I identifiedmyself as being particularly interested in reading/writing/literacy/learningmadereading/writing/literacy education relevant to my interactionswith the participants. It also88made my identity as a reading/literacy education professional and that of the teachersinthe study relevant. Being members of this Membership Categorization Devicebrings withit a range of rights, responsibilities and obligations. For example, a “categorypredicate”of teachers, teacher-librarians and (reading) researchers is that we know whatreading isand what it is not. In addition, “reading” can be seen as a “category bound activity”as itis an activity strongly tied to the categories “teacher”, “teacher-librarian”,“researcher”and “reading researcher”. In this way, members of these categories are assumedto knowwhat reading is and to be members of the category “readers”. The strength of thisassociation can be seen in the fact that it would generally be considereda breach ofexpected behaviour if one of the participants (parents or teachers) wereto attempt toexplicitly teach me (a teacher-librarian-researcher) what reading is, andwhat it is not,during our interview. For example, if a parent or teacher begana reply to one of myquestions with an explicit defmition of reading such as “by reading, I meanconstructingmeaning from these alphabetic marks on a page”, I could easily hear their remarkas aninsult as it would imply an assumption that I had no understandingof the boundaries ofreading and that I needed to be “taught” what “reading” meant.Similarly, it would be considered a breach of expected behaviour if one of theparticipants were to query my own status as a reader. For example, it wouldbe surprisingif, before answering a question, one of the participants turned tome and asked medirectly whether I was a reader or not. As noted in Chapter Five, when therights,responsibilities or obligations of a particular category are not fulfilledthen generallysomeone or something must be produced as accountable. In the case of this examplewithJill, no one and nothing are being held accountable becauseboth of us are acting within89our rights, responsibilities and obligations as “teachers” (or as a teacher and a teacher-librarian-researcher) to be treated and to treat each other as people who know what“reading” is and what “readers” do.In their examination of conversations between a young child and her parents,Forrester and Reason (2006) assert that recognizing and producing “glosses” is one of theways that members signal to each other that they are in fact members. In other words, that“in displaying a mastery of language, speakers display membership”(p. 464). In thislight, my interaction with Jill could be described as follows: In my first turn, I produce arequest for Jill to tell me about herself as a reader. However, I do so by avoiding anyconcrete description of “reading”. In effect, I produce my own identity as a reader via agloss of reading and then ask Jill whether she too is a reader. In Jill’s reply, she signalsthat my gloss of reading is not a problem for her and in doing so, that she is indeed areader, as she can recognize and similarly produce a “gloss” of reading.In terms of the production of reading, this interaction can be seen one that affirmsthe rights of teachers, teacher-librarians, and reading researchers to be treated asauthorities on reading. In addition, we affirm our rights/obligations to treat reading as aself-evident activity. In terms of the production of social in/equality this interaction canbe seen as one that affirms our specific rights/obligations to be treated and to treat eachother as authorities on reading. In this interaction Jill and I maintain our rights to be thearbiters of what counts as “reading” and who is a “reader”. In effect, we produce anaccount of teachers/teacher-librarians as authorities on reading and of readingas selfevident.90However, what is particularly interesting to me in this interaction isthat neither ofus abandons our obligations to act as authorities about reading or our obligationsto treatreading as self-evident. At the time of this interaction, I had spent two academic yearsconsidering the multiplicity of the term “reading” through my coursework.I had read atleast half a dozen books or articles that specifically suggested a connectionbetweenstatic, unitary definitions of reading/literacy and the reproduction ofsocial inequality. Ihad begun to see my work as an educator as dedicated to expanding notionsofreading/literacy and to asking questions about what “counts” as readingand why somethings are made to “count” more than others. However, in this interactionwithout anyapparent hesitation, I fulfil my obligation to act like an authority on readingand to treatreading as a self-evident activity.When looked at from this perspective, my interactions with Abby andJune can beseen as almost identical to this exchange with Jill. In each exchange,I offer a gloss ofreading, produce my own identity as a reader and then request a displayof theparticipants’ identities as readers. In response, the participants answerback with theirown glosses of reading and thus also produce themselves as readers. Itis as though theparticipants and I are using “reading” as a kind of shibboleth oras a secret password. Inall of these excerpts the participants and I maintain our rights/obligationsto treat readingas a self-evident activity. In all of these excerpts I am treatedas, and I behave as, “anauthority on reading”.In approaching the data with an understanding of recipient design andthe data’sstatus as “Institutional Talk”, these kinds of patterns across the dataset became more andmore clear. I repeatedly saw evidence that the participants and I wereworking off our91institutional identities and the institutional event of our “interview” in order to producereading and readers. In recognizing this talk as institutional talk and in examining issuesof recipient design, I also began to see how the data could tell me more about theinstitutional relationships between teachers and teacher-librarian-researchers,betweenparents and teacher-librarian-researchers, between interviewees and interviewersandbetween researched and researchers than it could about the reading/writing/literacypractices of individual parents or teachers. In the next section, I examine someof thethings we can learn from this data about these institutional relationships and theproduction of reading, readers and social inlequality in these “research interviews”.What Can we Learn from this Data?In paying attention to the status of this data as Institutional Talk and in keepingissues of recipient design in mind, I found ample evidence that reading was consideredtobe a social good and that I was being constructed as an arbiter of reading/readers.Forexample, on numerous occasions, I found myself presented withvery similar accounts of“parent-reader” identities that stressed how much a parent appreciated books,or lovedreading or how much s/he read to his/her children. Similarly, I was presentedwithcountless accounts of children who loved reading and books. The consistencyof theseaccounts forced me to consider how these descriptions of parent and child readeridentities often positioned me as an evaluator of reading and readers.Many of these accounts contained “extreme case formulations”. Pomerantz (1986)describes extreme case formulations as a tool to do describing that emphasize howaparticular case stands out amongst all others as a maximum (or minimum) case. For92example, when I asked Jill about whether her literacy practices changed much when shebecame a mother, she told me that she “always” read and “always read to her children”.In addition, she told me that her daughter was “an absolute genius” and that she read toher daughter “every single night”.Extract 6 Jill (31:35) (ii 249-285)249 L: Throughout all this, like for instance when you becamea250 mum, did it change, um, your literacy practices at all?251252 J: personally?253254 L: umhm255256 J: I always read257258 L: umhm259260 J: I mean, as I say, from Nancy Drew on261262 L: umhm263264 J: I always read I read to my children, like265266 L: umhm267268 J: book after boo- my daughter, and this is withouta word269 of a lie270271 L: umhm272273 J: at two274275 L: umhm276277 J:I mean she is absolutely a genius, at two, was reading278 Berenstein Bears, so my daughter would-was able to279 read to herself280281 L: umhm282283 J: but I read to her every single night284285 L: umhm93In this extract, Jill works to construct her reading practices as maximallyconsistent and her daughter as having a maximal capacity for learning. This exchangecould be glossed as follows: In my first turn, I invite Jill to tell me about the history ofher “literacy practices” or whether they changed at any point in her life and I offer that“becoming a mum” might change such practices. In Jill’s first turn, she requestsconfirmation that I am interested in her “personal” literacy practices or if I want her torespond “personally”. I offer an affirmation and Jill offers an account of herself assomeone who “always” read. I offer a minimal affirmation and Jill then modifies heraccount of herself as a consistent reading to being a consistent reader “from Nancy Drewon”, meaning her reading was constant from the time she started reading “Nancy Drew”mysteries through to the present. (Earlier in our interview, Jill remarked that it wasdiscovering Nancy Drew that transformed her from being a “struggling reader” to,presumably, being a non-struggling or “average” reader). I again offer a minimalaffirmation and Jill repeats that she “always read” and that she read to her children. Inthis way, she offers an account of herself as a reader and as a parent-reader. Followinganother minimal affirmation from me, Jill begins to offer an account of her reading to herchildren (“book after boo-”) that presents her reading as a constant (and maybe onerous)activity. However, instead of finishing this utterance, as can be seen in line 268-269, Jillbegins an account of her daughter who could read to herself at two years old. Jill marksher daughter’s ability to read as significant by interjecting “this is without a word of alie”, by emphasizing that her daughter’s reading began “at two” and by naming herdaughter as “an absolute genius”. In doing so, Jill presents her daughter’s learning to94reading as an extreme case, as well as her daughter as an extreme case.Jill then goes onto assert that she read to her daughter“every single night”. In other words, that herreading to her daughter was another maximumcase as it was not “most nights” or “somenights” but it was “every single night”. Pomerantz(1986) says that this kind ofdescription of an event provides more than justinformation about the amount of timespent on an activity. If Jill had said “every night”it would have conveyed the sameinformation in terms of what percentage of the nights she read to her daughter. However,when she describes her reading as taking place “every single night” we can hear theextreme nature of Jill’s reading as something that wasvery consistent indeed. Indescribing her reading in this way, she has provided a sense of herself as a maximallyconsistent reader and parent-reader.A similar use of extreme case formulations can be seen inmy exchange withBarbara, a parent who worked as an administrative assistant at Stony Creek School, whenI asked about her early memories of reading and writing.Extract 7 Barbara (1:52) (ii 13-32)13 L: so, from that very early time, I don’t know how many14 memories you have, from before you were five years old1516 B:umhm1718 L: um, but can you remember at any point, seeing people19 reading or writing around you?2021 B: oh yes a lot2223 L: umhm, umhm2425 B: a lot, urn, reading, a lotof — as a child I was26 interested always in books279528 L:urnhm2930 B: and urn, my mum, always bought me books3132 L:umhm, umhm3334 B: and we went shopping, and and I read a lot of books3536 L:umhm3738 B: as a matter of fact, a:ll the children, most of them3940 L: umhm4142 B: I would say ninety-five percent of the students4344 L:yep, umhm4546 B: urn, they love to read books4748 L:umhmAn actional sketch of this exchange with Barbara follows: In my first two turns, Iinvite Barbara to tell me about her early memories of reading and writing. In her firstturn, Barbara asserts that she saw reading and writing around her “a lot”. In describinghow often she saw reading and writing, Barbara invokes a category contrast betweenseeing reading and writing” a lot” and seeing reading and writing “a little” or” not atall”. In terms of this continuum, Barbara constructs her experience as a maximum case—while others may have seen reading and writing around them “a little” or” not at all”, shesaw these activities “ a lot”. In line 23, I provide a minimal affirmation and Barbara goeson to repeat” a lot of’ and “reading”. She then begins a new assertion about her interestin books as a child. She tells me that she was “always” interested in books. Again,Barbara uses an extreme case formulation as to describe her childhood interest in books.Given that our previous utterances have been focused on “reading” and the way that“reading” is an activity commonly bound to books, Barbara can be heard to describe96herself as “always” interested in reading. As noted by Pomerantz (1986), extreme caseformulations like this provide a sense of the time invested in this activity. It is as though Iasked Barbara “how much time did you spend interested in books/reading?” and shereplied “ all the time possible” or “all the time in the world”.Barbara then goes on to describe her mother as someone who “always” boughtbooks for her, and in doing so, describes herself as someone who “always” had booksbought for her, or who had books bought for her “all of the time”. I again provide aminimal affirmation and Barbara goes on to assert that she read” a lot” of books. In otherwords, that once again, her experience was a maximum case experience. Following yetanother minimal affirmation from me, Barbara tells me that as a “matter of fact”, “allchildren” or at least “ most of them” “love to read books”. In this way, Barbara begins topresent yet another extreme case formulation: “all” the children, but then downgrades thisestimation to a category contrast of”95 %“ or “most of them” versus 5% or some ofthem. It is as though, I have asked Barbara how many children/students love to readbooks and she has assessed this number as the maximum (all) and then downgraded thisassessment to almost the maximum possible (most). It bears noting that I have notactually asked Barbara this question, and yet somehow she feels compelled to tell me this“matter of fact”.Similar kinds of exchanges could be seen throughout the data, particularly whenparticipants spoke of their own, their friends’ or their families’ reading practices. Oftenthese extreme case formulations came through an assertion about someone being an“avid” reader. Take for example the following exchanges with Mark and Jolene. WhenIasked Mark to compare his feelings about reading and writing to those in his97“community”, he emphasized that while some of his friends were “avid avid” readers offiction and some of them were “constantly devouring fiction”, he “seldom” read fiction.In doing so, he created a number of extreme case formulations.Extract 8 Mark Interview 1 (1:27:54) (ii 1034—1050)1034 L: okay, do you think that the way that you feel about1035 reading and writing is different or the same from people in1036 your community?10371038 M: in my community?10391040 L: yeah10411042 M: well, community, my circle of friends, my reading habits1043 are different in that I read very little fiction and I have1044 very good friends who are avid avid readers of fiction,1045 they are constantly devouring novels, and I seldom am, and1046 if I do read a novel it’s probably fifty years old, so I1047 sort of deliberately avoid reading things that are1048 particularly popular10491050 L: yeahWhen I asked Jolene to reflect on how she felt about reading and writing incomparison to others in her family or community, she told me she was “extremelypassionate” about reading and writing and that how she felt was “probably more thanmost people”.Extract 9 Jolene (1:00:10) (ii 384-400)384 L: Do you think that the way that you feel about reading385 and writing, like how useful they are, or how enjoyable386 they are, is about the same, or different, in some way from387 how people in your community and in your family felt?388389 J: hnunm, yeah, I think I am extremely passionate ((laughs))390 about it391392 L: umhm98393394 J: which is probably more than most people395396 L: about?397398 J: about both reading and writing399400 L: umhmIn both of these exchanges, Mark and Jolene can be heard to assert the extremenature of their own and their friends’ reading practices/love of reading. As noted byPomerantz (1986), extreme case formulations can be seen as useful tools for counteringanticipated challenges. In using extreme case formulations, it is as though a person issaying s/he is aware of a continuum of possibilities but s/he is convinced of where thiscase lies on that continuum.However, these kinds of maximum category contrasts can also be seen asinvitations for evaluation. In essence, when a person uses an extreme case formulation,s/he is saying, “this case is the most (or the least) example of such a case”. In doing sos/he both displays and begs an evaluation. Recognizing how often the participants usedextreme case formulations during our discussions and how often my questions invitedthem to do so, helped me to see how often I was being positioned/was taking on theposition as an evaluator of reading and readers. This recognition in turn, highlighted forme how our talk was not only enmeshed in assumptions about unequal relationshipsbetween parents and teachers and assumptions about unequal relationships betweenteachers and teacher-librarian-researchers, but also how these exchanges wereperpetuating such unequal social relations. While the parents and teachers I interviewedfrequently positioned themselves as evaluators of reading and readers, I was the onlyparticipant who was consistently positioned/positioned myself in this way. At no point in99any of the interviews did the participants indicate that what I thought aboutreading/readers was irrelevant and the participants consistently left spaces in their talk forme to provide affirmation. While many of these patterns of interaction can be attributedto the institution of “the interview”, it bears noting that at no point did anyone indicate anindifference to my opinion about reading/readers or their reading practices.My discussion with Michelle about her memories of reading in elementary schoolprovides a particularly clear illustration of how reading was constructed as a “goodthing”, how being a reader was constructed as a valued identity and how I wasconstructed as an arbiter of reading and readers. When I asked Michelle what she readduring elementary school, she told me that she read “Judy Blume” and that she “did a lotof origami”. At that point, as shown below, I asked Michelle whether she “read” theinstructions in her origami books or not. Michelle’s reply clearly constructed reading as agood thing, being a reader as a valued identity and me as an arbiter of reading.Extract 10 Michelle (32:41) (ii 390-404)390 L: and(.)would you have to read the instructions on how391 to do the origami?—392393 M: oh yeah394395 L: okay396397 M: after a little while you skip the instructions398399 L: yeah400401 M: and you follow the picture, but I guess it’s some form402 of reading, I hope403404 L: oh it is absolutely it is100In terms of our interactions, this excerpt could be sketched as follows: In my firstturn, I offer that Michelle could be “reading” the instructions while she creates herorigami and I offer a request for her to reflect on whether this is what she was doing atthe time. As can be seen in line 393-401, Michelle offers that initially she did “read” theinstructions and that later she would “just follow the pictures”. In doing so, Michellebegins to set up a dichotomy between “reading” and “following pictures”. However,within this same turn on line 401, she then suggests that “following the pictures” couldactually be seen as “some form of reading”. Michelle then offers a kind of plea that this isthe case via the hedge “I guess” in line 401 and the tag “I hope” in line 402. Both of thesewords work to weaken her epistemic stance and in doing so invite my confirmation. AtMichelle’s plea, I provide this confirmation of her description of “following pictures” asa “form of reading” and use the intensifier “absolutely” to indicate the strength of myagreement with her description. We then continue our conversation about her memoriesof “reading”.Michelle’s plea that “following the pictures” could be considered to be “someform of reading” and my quick acceptance of this plea suggests that we were constructingreading as a social good and being a reader as a coveted identity. It would be unlikely thatMichelle would make a plea for an undesirable identity or that I would be so quick toassure her that an activity that she engaged in was “absolutely” “reading” unless“reading” was generally considered to be a “good thing”. Similarly, Michelle’s plea that“following pictures” could be considered to be a “form of reading” and my responsepositions me as a person who could tell her whether this is the case or not. In other words,101in this exchange, Michelle and I work together to construct reading as a good thing and toposition me as an arbiter of reading.This kind of evaluation of reading as a good thing and of me as someone with theauthority to validate reading/readers can also be seen in the following excerpt whereMichelle and I discuss the kinds of reading she might do on the weekends or after work.Extract 11 Michelle (13:01) (ii 256-336)256 L: So on the weekends, or whatever, where would you use257 reading? like for instance, like, if you were going258 shopping259260 M: [oh yeah261262 L: [or are you guys the member of any church or anything?263264 M: yeah, no, um, it would be at the grocery store, shopping265 mall, or what notC.)actually Nina and Allen like going to266 the grocery store267268 L: umhm umhm269270 M: because they have this new self-scan system271272 L: oh273274 N: so of course they like picking up the products275276 L: unhunh277278 N: and self scanning it, and following the instructions on279 the self—scan280281 L: oh282283 N: um, and so so that’s, you know, that’s great, they do284 the check out285286 L: (query about the self scan omitted)287288 N: (answer to query omitted)289102290 M: it’s so simple, and, you know, the kids just love that,291 but, you know, they’re still following the instructions292293 L: umhm294295 M: and if you don’t have the product number, you have to296 look for the product297298 L: yup299300 M: so it would categorize everything and you would follow301 the instructions to find the product you were looking for302303 L: right304305 M: and whatnot and so that’s very good306307 L: yeah yeah so [they’re308309 M: [very310311 L: yeah, so you’re using reading, they’re using reading312313 M: oh they are314315 L:[[just even (?)316317 M:[[like I’m not even paying attention at that point318319 L: ((laughs)) right320321 M: you know, unless it says beep and get a cashier322 otherwise323324 L: yeah they (?)325326 M: they follow the instructions327328 L: oh that’s so nice yeah329330 M: so that’s great331332 L: yeah, so okay, so sort of, grocery store shopping333334 M: oh yes335103336 L: okay, and then any other sort of shopping on the337 weekend?287In terms of our interactions, this excerpt could be sketched as follows: In my firstturn, I initiate a new topic by asking Michelle to tell me about “where she might usereading” on the weekends. I offer that she might use reading when she goes “shopping”.However, before Michelle can offer a full reply, I ask another question about whether sheand her children are members of “any church or anything”. In doing so, I suggest that“church” could be another place where Michelle might use reading. Michelle replies thatshe and the children are not members of a “church or anything” and offers that “it” (aplace where she would use reading) would be at the grocery store or shopping mall.Michelle then offers that her children like going to the grocery store because they have anew “self-scan system”. I then signal that what Michelle has said is of interest to me(“oh”) (Bolden, 2006), and Michelle describes what the children do with the scanner.Michelle includes in her description of the self scan that her children like “following theinstructions” at which point I again signal an interest in what Michelle is saying.After Michelle evaluates what her kids do with the scanner as “great”, I ask aquestion concerning how the self-scan actually works and Michelle replies. Michelle thenoffers that the kids love the simplicity of the self-scan “but” “they’re still following theinstructions”. Michelle’s use of the word “still” suggests an upgrade of whatever thechildren are doing with the self-scan to something more important than just “fun”. Giventhe context of our discussion of reading and our roles as a parent and a teacher-librarianresearcher, this assertion could be heard as “even though they are having fun they are stillengaging in something educational” or “even though they are having fun they are still104reading”.8In line 292, I offer a minimal agreement with Michelle, or perhaps the merereceipt of her utterance and she then goes on to provide more details about the self-scan.She tells me that “if you don’t have the product number” you have to “look for” it andrepeats that the self-scan requires you to “follow the instructions”. Again, I offer aminimal evaluation of what Michelle has told me. Michelle then offers an evaluation ofsomething about the self-scan as “very good”. She says “so that’s very good”. However,it is not exactly clear what aspect of the self-scan she is evaluating. Michelle and I thenhave moment of overlapping talk where I begin to formulate an utterance, likely abouther children (“so they’re”) and Michelle repeats the word “very” suggesting she may beabout to repeat the evaluation she offered in her last utterance. After a brief pause, I offerthat Michelle and her children are “using reading”. At this suggestion, Michelle agreesthat her children are using reading but denies that she is doing so. I then offer anevaluation of what her children are doing as “so nice” and Michelle upgrades thisevaluation to “great”. At this point we begin to move on to another topic.In our discussion of weekend grocery shopping with her children, Michelle and Iwork to produce reading as a good thing and to position me as an evaluator of reading. Ascan be seen in the data, Michelle goes to some length to convince me that using the self-scan could be considered as reading. In this exchange, it appears to take me awhile tounderstand why Michelle is focusing on this activity as part of our interview aboutreading. My limited agreements with Michelle (e.g., “oh” and “umhm”) suggest I am notentirely clear why she feels the self-scan is relevant to our talk. However, after Michelle8Further evidence that Michelle may be using “following the instructions” as an equivalent for “reading” inthis extract can be seen in the fact that I use “following directions on a box of macaroni” as an equivalentfor reading in the very first turns of our interview, presented in Chapter Eight and Michelle uses this samephrase “following instructions” as an equivalent term for “reading” in our discussion about origamipresented earlier in this chapter.105suggests that the self scan is “great” and that even though it is “simple” the kids are “stillfollowing the instructions” and after she notes that there are at times when they are forcedto “look for things” and repeats again that one needs to “follow instructions” and that thisis “very good”, I appear to finally hear her account of using the self-scan as “reading”. Inline 311, I offer Michelle an account of the self-scan as “reading” and of herself and herchildren as “readers” by saying “so you’re using reading, they’re using reading”.Michelle then denies this assessment of herself but agrees with my account of herchildren as readers and we move on to another topic.It is interesting to note the way Michelle works to establish that the self-scan isreading by describing what her children must do with the self-scan (“follow directions”and “look for things”) and by asserting that this is “very good”, “great” and more thanjust fun. It is only after repeated assertions of the “goodness” of what the self-scanrequires that I name what Michelle’s children are doing with it as “reading” and Michelleagrees with my assessment. In this way, Michelle and I produce the self-scan as readingand reading as a good thing simultaneously. It is Michelle’s repeated insistence that thework that her children do with the self-scan is “good” that makes me recognize theirwork as “reading” and in this recognition I reaffirm for both of us that her children arereaders and that reading is indeed a “good thing”.However, this excerpt also provides evidence of Michelle and my relationship toeach other and some information about the cultural production of reading, readers andsocial inlequality in this data. In this exchange, Michelle repeatedly offers an evaluationof her children’s work with the self-scan as reading. She also includes spaces for me toaffirm or deny that her children are reading. Eventually, I provide this affirmation and we106conclude this exchange with a repetition of our agreement and move on to another topic.However, significantly it is my recognition of the children’s work with the self-scan as“reading” that allows us to move on and it is Michelle who is repeatedly presenting herchildren’s work with the self-scan for my evaluation. Thorough our talk of reading, weassume and construct a world where teacher-librarian-researchers have the final say onwhat “counts” as reading and parents habitually produce their children for evaluation.Similar kinds of exchanges can be seen in my interview with Penny, another parent atStony Creek. During a discussion about how her daughters, Aileen and Charlotte, haddifferent relationships to reading as pre-schoolers, Penny concluded her reflection bytelling me that, ultimately, it didn’t really matter whether her daughters had differentattitudes towards being read to, or if they had different tastes in books as young children,because at the time of our interview, they both “completely love books” and “as long asyou like reading you’re okay”. In our exchange, Penny’s utterances were designed toinclude places for my affirmation or denial of her accounts of reading and her daughtersas readers. She did not speak as though delivering a monologue, but instead throughsmall pauses and falling intonation signalled spaces for my backchannels andaffirmations.Extract 12 Penny (20:02) (ii 373-389)373 P: yeah, no, it’s sort of interesting to reflect on it, but374 the cool thing is that it hasn’t really made a difference375 to the fact that they both completely love books376377 L: yeah, they’re into it378379 P: and you know that as long as you like reading you’re380 okay381382 L: yeah383107384 1?: you’ll always be able to amuse yourself ((laughs))385386 L: yeah, absolutely, okay, so that’s sort of the reading387 and writing in the day to day, and on the weekend, you said388 cookbooks would come out, and be written in as well as389 being read any other things?This exchange could be sketched as follows: In her first turn, Penny asserts thatthinking about her daughter’s reading practices is “sort of interesting” and then assertsthat “the cool thing” is that regardless of any differences in their early reading tastes ordesires, both of her daughters “completely love books”. I then provide an affirmation thather daughters are “into it” and Penny asserts, that as I likely “know”, “as long as you likereading you’re okay”. I provide a minimal affirmation and Penny then asserts that (if youlike reading) then “you’ll always be able to amuse yourself’ and laughs. I provide astronger affirmation (absolutely) and then initiate a new topic, inviting Penny to tell meabout her reading on the weekend.In this exchange, I can be heard to affirm Penny’s suggestion that likingreading/loving books makes a person “okay” and capable of “amusing” him/herself andthat her daughters are both readers and thus are likely to be “okay”. We then move on todiscuss other topics. In this way, Penny and I produce reading as something that “makesthings okay” or as a social good, and produce our own identities: 1) as a person whoprovides information for evaluation (Penny) and 2) as a person who provide evaluationsof reading/readers (myself).In recognizing that reading was repeatedly being constructed as a laudableactivity or as a social good across a wide range of extracts, and in recognizing how I wasconsistently being positioned/was positioning myself as an evaluator of reading, I beganto think about what these constructions could tell us about the institutional relationships108between parents and teachers and between teachers and teacher-librarian-researchers. Inaddition, I began to consider how the production of reading and readers was specificallyrelated to the production of social in/equality in “research talk” about reading betweenthese participants. Following Baker (1991; 2000), I began to ask what social relations andvalues were being reflected and constructed in these interviews about reading andreaders.The consistency of a formulation of reading as a social good suggests that one ofthe constraints on the institutional relationship of parents, teachers and teacher-librarian-researchers is that we must speak of reading as a good thing and of readers as “okay” andas “able to amuse” them/ourselves. On other occasions, the participants and alsoconstructed readers as “better people in society”, as “more compassionate”, as “moreintellectual”, as more capable of avoiding “difficulties”! “trouble”, as more capable ofsecuring employment that reflects their “brilliance” and as constructive members ofsociety. In constructing readers in this way, it is impossible not to notice how “non-readers” were also being constructed: as not okay, as not able to amuse themselves,asless good people in society, as less compassionate, as less intellectual, as less capable ofavoiding difficulties/trouble, as less capable of securing employment that reflectstheir“brilliance” and as less constructive members of society. In addition, these constructionsof reading and social worth perfectly reproduced age-old narratives about reading notedin Chapters One, Two and Four. The consistency of these formulations across the data setand beyond it, suggest that speaking of readers, and by extension non-readers, in this waymay not only be a right but may also an obligation for parents, teachers and teacherlibrarian-researchers engaged in reading research interviews.109While the ability to decode various forms of text is often useful, given the currentcomplexity of defining “reading”, given the extremely negative evaluations of “non-readers” and given the complexity of ever securing employment that reflects your“brilliance” regardless of what you can do with texts, this construction of reading as apanacea for all social ills seems to contribute more to the production of social inequalitythan to the production of social equality. In effect, the participants and I can be seen tomystify the complex ways that people come to be valued or how they come to securework that reflects/doesn’t reflect their “brilliance” under a reading rubric. In effect, weare suggesting that success with reading equals success in life regardless of the ambiguityof the term “reading” and regardless of any other social privilege, or constraint.Similarly, the consistent way that I was positioned as an evaluator ofreading/literacy and the consistent positioning of parents/children/teachers as subjectsforevaluation, can be seen as creating/maintaining a significant power imbalance betweenus. In all of our interactions, I am placed in a position to judge other people’sreading/literacy practices and who qualifies as a “reader” (read “good person”,constructive member of society, etc.) and parents and fellow teachers are subjects forthese evaluations. Given the Institutional nature of our talk it would be reasonable to seemy privilege as linked to my role as a teacher-librarian-researcher. In this way, themajority of the data in this study reflects and constructs highly unequal social relationsand un-egalitarian values. Readers were consistently constructed as more worthy than“non-readers” and I was consistently positioned as an evaluator or arbiter of readingandpeople’s identities as readers/their worth. It is possible that these constructionsonly holdwithin the confines of these research interviews. It is possible that outside of these110interactions none of the participants may feel this way about reading or me. However,this analysis is not about what the participants think or feel, it is about what getsrepresented in our talk. That these constructions were so readily available across the dataset suggests that these kinds of unequal relations are deeply enmeshed in the institutionsof schooling, and reading research. This analysis suggests these kinds of interviewscanprovide more information about the institutional relationships between parents andteachers, teachers and teacher-librarians, and research “subjects” and researchersand theinstitutions of “schooling”, “reading”, “interviews” and “research” than theycan aboutreading/literacy practices. In addition, this analysis suggests parents, teachers andteacher-librarian-researchers frequently produce unequal socialrelations and unegalitarian values when they start talking about “reading”.In the next chapter, I examine excerpts from the data that could be consideredas“deviant cases” in order to illustrate some of the alternative ways that the participantsandI produced “reading”, “readers” and my interests as a “reading researcher”. Theseexcerpts suggest some of the ways that parents, teachers and teacher-librarian-researcherscan challenge social inequality in research interviews about reading and readers.111CHAPTER EIGHTTHE CULTURAL PRODUCTION OF READING ANDREADERS: SIGNS OF TROUBLE AND ALTERNATIVEMETHODSIn this chapter, I examine excerpts from the data that deviated significantly fromthe majority. While the majority of the data was marked by an absence of overtnegotiation concerning reading, readers or my interests as a reading researcher, theseextracts were marked by a range of requests for clarification and a variety of repairs.These excerpts speak most clearly to my interest in how reading, readers and socialequality could be produced in research interviews as they illustrate some of the ways thatparents, teachers and teacher-librarian-researchers can challenge social inequality throughtheir talk of reading and readers.Signs of Trouble: Producing Reading and Readers with Michelle, Jolene and AnnaIn examining the data, five excerpts from three of the eighteen interviews stoodout as dramatic illustrations of the ways the participants and I actively produced“reading”, “readers” and my interests as a “reading researcher”. In these excerpts, theparticipants and I repeatedly produced requests for clarification and attempts to repairunderstanding. The most salient examples of this kind of negotiation were evident in myinterviews with Michelle, Jolene and Anna. In the next sections, I examine excerpts fromeach of these interviews in turn.112In examining the transcript of my interview with Michelle, I was struck by theconsiderable effort that we both invested in creating a usable definition of “reading” forour talk. As can be seen below, during the very first exchanges of our interview, Michelleand I began our interview with a series of turns concerning how to use the word“reading” in our conversation. I initiated this conversation with a long elaboration aboutthe kinds of things Michelle might “read” or what might be considered to be “reading”.Extract 13 Michelle (6:31) (ii 98-176)98 L: okay so the first part (of the interview) is about what99 kinds of things that you read in your life(.)right(.)100 now, urn, and it can be for anything, like you know, in-at101 work, for the kids, for entertainment, for, you know,102 shopping, whatever, like the whole gamut of things(.)urn,103 and I’ve only done one interview so far, I just didJolene,104 and one of the things that seemed to help was ifshe just105 sort of, start at the beginning of her day and goes through106 her day, then she can get kind of a sense ofall of the107 things that she would be reading in her day108109 M: oh reading110111 L: yeah112113 M: oh what kind of literature I I read?114115 L: It can be anything116117 M: hmmm118119 L: it doesn’t have to be literature even it can just be120 like you know even the directions on the you know the box121 of macaroni ((laughs)) okay whatever yeah122123 M: right and I go through my day and think of all the124 things I’ve read?125126 L: yup127128 M: like where I would be exposed129130 L: [yeah113131132 M: [to needing to read133134 L: yep yep135136 M: urn well I my my morning137138 L: umhrn139140 M: I get out leave whatever and of course I read the TTC141 bus schedule142143 L: urnhm144145 M: to see when my next bus comes,146147 L: umhm148149 M: I hop on the bus and I read a book throughout urn, the150 whole151152 L: umhm153154 M: and I don’t pay attention to anything at that point,155156 L: ((laughs))157158 M: I just read all the way through159160 L: yeah161162 M: all the way through urn get off and then of course my163 whole work day164165 L: umhrn166167 M: you know, I’ve got access to email internet all that168 kind of stuff169170 L: umhm171172 M: so the first thing I do is, I obviously check my email,173 and from there I lead to whateverC.)if it’s an174 instruction book, whether it’s looking for information on a175 sample, researching this product or that product(.)176 sometimes I go through a lot of that114As can be seen in this exchange, Michelle and I spent numerous turns sketchingout a candidate description of “reading”. This extract could be sketched as follows: In myfirst turn, I begin by casting reading as an activity that might be used for a wide range ofpurposes such as “work”, “the kids”, “entertainment” and “shopping”. In her first turn,line 113, Michelle rejects this candidate construction of reading and offers a re-cast of myinquiry as a question about the “literature” she reads. I then offer a reformulation of myquestion and attempt to clarify that my question about “reading” is not necessarily aquestion about “literature”. I suggest that “it” (something that Michelle might read)could be “anything”. In line 117, Michelle then offers a sign that she does not entirelyunderstand what it is I am interested in and I attempt a repair by directly asserting that“it” (something she might read) “doesn’t have to be literature”. I then go on to elaboratein lines 119-121, that my question about “reading” includes an interest in activities likefollowing “the directions on a box of macaroni”. Following this further description ofwhat “reading” might be, Michelle then offers two requests for affirmation (li 123-124and li 128-132). When I provide this affirmation, she then begins to describewhat shemight read in a typical day including texts such as “bus schedules”, “novels” and “email”.A range of accounts of reading, readers and my interests as a reading researchercan be seen in the first few turns of this excerpt. As noted by Baker (2002), questions andanswers can be analyzed in terms of the accounts they provide. In examining my firstquestion to Michelle, we can see a variety of accounts of reading and readers. Forexample, I offer that reading is something that is used for a variety of activities includingwork, parenting, entertainment and shopping. Embedded in this account of readingis anaccount of readers as people who work, parent, entertain themselves and shop — in other115words, as people who engage in ordinary every day activities. In addition, I provide anaccount of myself as a “reading researcher” as someone who is interested in a “wholegamut of things”. In Michelle’s reply to this first question, she also provides an accountof reading, readers and my interests as a reading researcher. In recasting my questionabout reading as a question about “literature”, Michelle provides an account of reading asan activity that involves “literature”, an account of readers as people who consume“literature” and an account of reading researchers as people who are primarily interestedin what “literature” people read.In constructing reading, readers and my interests as a reading researcher in thisway, Michelle could be heard to call on a common ideology of reading that Bialostock(2002) has called this a “literary view of literacy”. In his study of white middle classparents’ metaphors of literacy, Bialostock (2002), describes “reading books” as a culturalschema that governs the kind of metaphors that people use when they talk about literacy.He suggests that a “literary view of literacy” is often used as a tool for marking classdistinction. While Michelle has not referenced “books” per Se, her reference to“literature” could be seen as evidence of a “literary view of literacy”. As discussedbelow, even if Michelle did not intend to invoke this view of literacy, there is evidencethat this is the way that I heard it in our discussion. In other words, that this ideology ofliteracy is a readily available resource that I use to make sense of our conversation.A range of categories can also be seen in these first few turns. Most notably myquestion to Michelle contains a variety of categories of activities that I link to reading(work, parenting, entertainment, shopping) and in doing so I implicate a range ofcategories of people as potential readers (workers, parents, those who seek entertainment,116and shoppers). In short, I implicate pretty well everyone as a potential “reader”. Innarrowing her description of “reading” as something to do with “literature”, Michellemobilizes a different range of categories of people as “readers”. In essence she impliesthat those who consume literature are readers and those who do not consume literatureare non-readers. At this point, it is interesting to note that Michelle’s use of the word“literature” can be used broadly to refer to any printed material (e.g., pamphlets at thedoctor’s office are sometimes referred to as “literature”) but also has a commonconnotation as being linked to high art or culture. In this way, in suggesting thatconsuming “literature” is part of being a reader, Michelle could be seen as describingreading as an activity that is linked to a broad range of people, or as an activity that islinked to a particular category of people — people who consume high art or culture, inother words people with elite status.However, the point of any discourse analysis like this is not to attempt to “mindread” what it is that Michelle meant by her reference to “literature” and given the relativeambiguity of the word, it is actually impossible to know how Michelle meant me to hearher description of reading. What is possible is to see how I apparently did hear herdescription. My reply following Michelle’s question about whether I was interested in the“literature” she reads suggests I heard Michelle as making a comment about reading andsocial class. In my attempt to re-assert the possibility that reading could be an activitythat is used more broadly and that readers may consume things other than “literature”, Isuggest that “even” following the directions on “a box of macaroni” could be consideredto be “reading”. In doing so, I invoke a category of people who read, and likely consumein other ways, “boxes of macaroni”. As noted by Baker (2002; 2004) categories of people117can be read off the activities they engage in as well as by the ways that they aredescribed. In addition, Baker (2004) notes that there are some activities that are routinelybound to some categories of people. For example, caring about children’s well being is anactivity generally bound to parents, evaluating children’s progress as readers is anactivity generally bound to teachers, and designing fun outdoor activities is an activitygenerally bound to summer camp counsellors. Consuming “boxes of macaroni”, in mymind at the time of this interview was an activity bound to poor or non-elite people9.Increating a contrast between reading “literature” and reading directions on a “box ofmacaroni” and in attempting to re-categorize the latter as “reading”, I can be seen asattempting to counter a description of reading as an elite activity, regardless of whetherthis is what Michelle meant to convey or not.This kind of elaborate negotiation concerning how to define reading and readersdid not end here in our interview. Following a brief discussion about the kinds of readingshe did at work, I then asked Michelle to tell me about the kinds of reading she might doat home after work, or on the weekend. As seen in Chapter Seven, at this question,Michelle provided me with a description of going grocery shopping with her children. Ascan be seen below, in this exchange, we continued to negotiate our use of the word“reading” and the activities that could be bound to the category “readers”.I have since recognized my limited understanding of the role of “boxes of macaroni” in middle class andelite family diets.118Extract 14 Michelle (13:01) (ii 256-336)256 L: So on the weekends, or whatever, where would you use257 reading? like for instance, like, if you were going258 shopping259260 M: [oh yeah261262 L: [or are you guys the member of any church or anything?263264 M: yeah, no, urn, it would be at the grocery store, shopping265 mall, or what not(.)actually Nina and Allen like going to266 the grocery store267268 L: umhm urnhrn269270 M: because they have this new self-scan system271272 L: oh273274 M: so of course they like picking up the products275276 L: unhunh277278 M: and self scanning it, and following the instructions on279 the self—scan280281 L: oh282283 M: urn, and so so that’s, you know, that’s great, they do284 the check out -285286 L: (query about the self scan omitted)287288 M: (answer to query omitted)289290 N: it’s so simple, and, you know, the kids just love that,291 but, you know, they’re still following the instructions,292293 L: urnhm294295 N: and if you don’t have the product number, you have to296 look for the product297298 L: yup299300 N: so it would categorize everything and you would follow301 the instructions to find the product you were looking for119302303 L: right304305 M: and whatnot and so that’s very good306307 L: yeah yeah so [they’re308 M: [very309310 L: yeah, so you’re using reading, they’re using reading311312 M: oh they are313314 L: [just even (?)315316 M: [like I’m not even paying attention at that point317318 L: ((laughs)) right319320 M: you know, unless it says beep and get a cashier321 otherwise322323 L: yeah they (?)324325 M: they follow the instructions326327 L: oh that’s so nice yeah328329 M: so that’s great330331 .L: yeah, so okay, so sort of, grocery store shopping332333 M: oh yes334335 L: okay, and then any other sort of shopping on the336 weekend?In terms of accounts of reading and readers, my first turn in this exchange can beseen as an account of reading as something that is routinely done after work and onweekends, when people go shopping and when they attend church. I can also be seen tooffer an account of Michelle as a reader through the design of my question. I do not askher “do you read after work or on the weekends?” implying the possibility that she might120not read. Instead, I ask her “where” she would “use reading” after work or on theweekends. In this way, I suggest that I see Michelle as a reader even though I do notknow the details of “where” she might be reading. In her first turns, Michelle offers anaccount of reading, and of herself as a reader, in her reply, as she asserts that the placesshe would read would be at the grocery store or in the shopping mall. In this way,Michelle affirms my account of reading as something that can take place while a personis shopping and provides an account of herself as this kind of a reader. Michelle thengoes on to provide some information about her children and further accounts of reading.She begins with an account of her children as “liking” to go shopping “because” of thenew self-scan system. As discussed in Chapter Seven, Michelle then begins to describethe self-scan system as something that requires a person to “follow instructions”. Givenour initial exchange, noted above, concerning following “directions on a box ofmacaroni” as “reading”, this reference to “following instructions” could be seen as thebeginning of an attempt to build an account of using the self-scan as “reading” or viceversa, as the beginning of an account of reading as an activity that includes things likeusing the self-scan. If this is the case, then in essence, Michelle can also be heard to bebuilding a case for her children as “people who like to read” as “following instructions”on the self-scan is what makes them like going shopping in the first place.As noted in Chapter Seven, further evidence that Michelle is building an accountof using the self-scan as reading can be seen in her upgrade of using the self-scan tosomething that is more than just fun (“they’re still following the instructions”) andthrough her evaluations of what her children are doing with this machine as a “goodthing”. However, within this exchange, we can also see Michelle and I building an121account of reading as something that can happen in places like grocery stores and that canhappen with new technologies such as “self-scan” machines. In this way, we build anaccount of readers as people who engage in every day activities and an account ofreading as something that is used for every day purposes such as grocery shopping. Wecan also be heard to be building a case for reading as an activity that happens with toolslike the self-scan.These kinds of overt negotiations about what counts as “reading” and what“readers” do can be seen again about fifteen minutes later in our interview when I askedMichelle to tell me about her memories of reading in elementary school. The followingexcerpt was used in Chapter Seven to illustrate how Michelle and I produced reading as agood thing and how I was constructed/constructed myself as an evaluator of reading. Inlooking at this excerpt again, as discussed below, I was struck by the range of accounts ofreading and readers that could also be seen in our talk.Extract 15 Michelle (32:41) (ii 390-404)390 L: andC.)would you have to read the instructions on how391 to do the origami?—392393 M: oh yeah394395 L: okay396397 M: after a little while you skip the instructions,398399 L: yeah400401 M: and you follow the picture, but I guess it’s some form402 of reading I hope403404 L: oh it is, absolutely it is122In terms of accounts of reading and readers, this excerpt could be sketched asfollows: In my first turn, I present an account of reading as something that could takeplace while creating origami and of the child Michelle as a potential reader. In her reply,Michelle affirms this account of origami and of herself as a reader. She then goes on toprovide another account of herself, of reading and of origami. Michelle asserts that “aftera little while you skip the instructions”. In this way, she provides an account of reading assomething that sometimes happens while a person is doing origami, but often, orhabitually, is “skipped” once a person has some experience with the process. In addition,Michelle provides an account of herself as “normal reader” or as someone who“sometimes” skipped reading in the way that “you”, or people generally, often do. Inlines 393, and 401, Michelle begins to provide an account of reading as somehowdifferent from “following pictures”. However, by the end of line 401, she hasrehabilitated “following pictures” as “some form of reading” and in doing so she has alsorehabilitated herselffrom being a “sometimes reader” to being a reader even when she is‘following the pictures”. For my part, I affirm Michelle’s account of reading and ofherself as a reader. I also offer an account of myself as a “reading researcher” who“absolutely” sees “following pictures” as “some form of reading” and who sees “peoplewho follow pictures” as “readers”. Throughout our talk Michelle and I can be seen toproduce a radically new perspective on reading that is seen nowhere else in the data. Inour discussion, reading has expanded to include making meaning from pictures and thecategory “readers” has expanded to include those who may or may not have facility withalphabetic print but who use images to make meaning.123This kind of direct negotiation concerning a definition of “reading” or what“readers” do, was also apparent in my interviews with Jolene and Anna. During ourinterview, when I asked Jolene to tell me about the kinds of things that she might read ona typical day she responded with a request for clarification concerning my use of theword “reading”. As can be seen below, my question and her reply are the beginning of aseries of turns dedicated to defining reading.Extract 16 Jolene (0:48) (ii 8-27)8 L: What kinds of things do you read in your life that are9 not part of any school that you are attending?1011 J: So you mean for fun?1213 L: Sure1415 J: Do you mean other than email computer stuff, that kind16 of thing?1718 L: Nope, that counts1920 J: I usually read the newspaper and all my communications21 on MSN or email I go on line and check current event things2223 L: Is that kind of in the morning before you head out for24 the day?2526 J: Yeah while the coffee’s being made and usually I check27 my email about four times a dayAs can be seen in the data, in this exchange, Jolene treats my use of the word“reading” as a kind of puzzle. In fact, in this exchange we exemplify a kind of interactionknown as a puzzle-pass-solution (Antaki & Widdicombe, 1998). In other words, Jolenetreats my first utterance as a “puzzle”, she responds with a “pass” (in terms of herconversational turn) and her pass forces me to explain myself or to provide a “solution”.As can be seen in lines 8-11, and lines 15-18, we actually go through this kind of puzzle-124pass-solution twice inour first few utterances. OnceI have establishedthat I aminterested in what Jolenereads “for fun” and what shereads on “the computer”,sheproceeds to tell me about her dailyreading routines. In line23, I offer anotherquestionand in this way, I help to signal thatJolene’s answeris acceptable to meand that I amready to move on. Jolene similarlybegins to fonnulate a descriptionof her day and weput our initial “trouble” definingreading behind us.The interaction in this exchangecould be sketchedas follows: In my first turn,Iinitiate a topic and producea request for Jolene totell me about her habitualreadingpractices. In Jolene’s first exchangeshe presents “reading”as a trouble sourceand probeswhether my research interestsinclude what she mightread “for fun”. In myreply, Iaffirm that my research interestsextend to what people read“for fun” and Joleneproduces another question probingwhether my interests includereading that she mightdo “on the computer”. WhenI affirm that I amalso interested in thiskind of reading,Jolene then beginsto outline her daily reading habitsincluding reading “thenewspaper”,“MSN” and “email” as part ofwhat she reads ona regular morning.In terms of accounts ofreading and readers, myinitial question includesanaccount of Jolene as a readeras I ask her “what kindsof things do youread in your life”rather than “do youread?”. In addition, myquestion includes an accountof reading assomething that couldbe done “in connectionto school work” oras “apart from schoolwork”. Jolene’s initialreply contains an accountof reading as somethingthat could bedone “for fun” or “forsomething other than fun”. Ithen affirm this accountof readingand Jolene provides anotheraccount of readingas something that couldbe done “on thecomputer” or “not on the computer”.Again, I affirm Jolene’saccount and shegoes on to125provide an account of reading as something that can be done to “newspapers”, “MSN”and “email”. In accepting Jolene’ s reply I offer an affirmation of these accounts of“reading” and by extension her accounts of readers as people who engage in theseactivities and we continue our exchange.In terms of the categories being used in this exchange, I begin the exchange bycreating the category contrast of “reading” that is done for school and “reading” that isdone for reasons other than school. Jolene refines this contrast by asking if I aminterested in reading that is done “for fun” and in doing so she creates another categorycontrast between “reading for school” and “reading for fun”. I affirm this as anacceptable category contrast and Jolene creates yet another category contrast between“reading that is connected to email or computer stuff’ and “reading that is not connectedto email or computer stuff’. Again I affirm this contrast as acceptable and Jolene beginsto create categories of things she reads on a regular basis in the morning. Throughout allof these utterances, Jolene and I can be heard to create categories of people who engagein these kinds of reading as well as categories for ourselves as people who understandreading to take these various forms. Similarly, I can be heard to create a category formyself as a reading researcher who is interested in these things.A similar kind of work was also evident in my interview with Anna. When Iasked Anna about her day-to-day reading practices, Anna, like Jolene, responded to myquestion with a question of her own that forced me to clarifr what I meant by “reading”.Extract 17 Anna (4:04) (ii 10-56)10 L: what are some of the things you find yourself reading in11 your life, and in fact I would start with, you know, going12 through a typical day, getting up in the morning, you know,13 what kinds of things do you find yourself reading and (?)?1412615 A: Now I am going to have to tell ask you, what are you16 asking, whether I’m reading in Chinese or I’m reading in17 English?1819 L: ah2021 A: because I am reading both2223 L: yes, absolutely2425 A: everyday2627 L: yeah, okay, well let’s start with just sort of your28 typical day, you get up in the morning2930 A: hmmm3132 L: and you can, you know, tell me what it is you are33 reading and what language it is in3435 A: It is hard for me to draw a fine line3637 L: yeah3839 A: I’ll try my best4041 L: yeah4243 A: you know that I I practice Falun Gong, so it’s a44 spiritual practice, so there is a reading component to it4546 L: umhm umhm4748 A: the teachings that I read every day4950 L: umhm5152 A: just to refresh my memory, and that, I read it in53 Chinese5455 L: umhmThis exchange could be sketched as follows: In my first turn, I produce a requestfor Anna to tell me about her habitual reading practices. I offer that it may be useful for127her to begin in the morning and to list the kinds of things she might read in a day. Annareplies with a request for clarification concerning whether my research interests include aconsideration of reading in languages other than English most specifically whether I aminterested in what she reads in Chinese. I affirm that I am interested in these aspects ofreading and suggest that Anna list what she is reading and note what language it is in aswe proceed. Anna then asserts that doing so is difficult for her but that she will “try herbest”. Anna then begins to list some of the things she reads and the language she readsthem in.In terms of accounts of reading, once again, my initial question offers an accountof reading as something that might be done every day and of Anna as a “reader” as I donot ask her whether she reads but only what she reads. Anna’s reply contains a furtheraccount of reading as something that can take place in Chinese or in English. In addition,she provides an account of herself as a reader of both Chinese and English and of herselfas a “daily reader of Chinese and English”. In my reply, I present an account of myself asa reading researcher who is interested in what Anna reads in both languages. Anna thenpresents an account of engaging in reading in different languages as something that isdifficult to describe and concludes with an account of herself as a reader who reads forspiritual purposes, who reads daily for such purposes and who reads daily for suchpurposes in Chinese.In terms of categories that are created in this exchange, Anna’s first turn includesthe categories “reading in Chinese” and “reading in English”. In addition, her questioninfers that there are categories of reading researchers who are interested in one kind ofreading or another. In my reply, I suggest that there is a third category of researchers —128those of us who are interested in reading regardless of what language it is in or who areinterested in reading in both (perhaps all) languages. Anna then asserts that she is amember of a category of people that reads in both Chinese and English and that she isalso a member of a category of people that reads in both of these languages “everyday”. Iaccept Anna’s account of herself as a reader, and by extension, her account of reading,and she goes on to create a category of “people who read for spiritual reasons” and“people who read for spiritual reasons everyday”, as well as “people who read forspiritual reasons in Chinese” and “people who read for spiritual reasons in Chineseeveryday”.In this way, Anna and I, like Jolene and I, and Michelle and I, work together tonegotiate how we will use the term “reading” and “readers” as well as what we willconsider to be relevant to my research as a “reading researcher”. Within all of theseinteractions, accounts, and categories can be seen particular “versions of the world”. AsBaker (2004) asserts, in the work done with categories and accounts we can see the localproduction of versions of a moral order. In this light it makes sense to ask, as Baker(2002) does, “What kind of social world are the speakers making happen in their talk?”and “What kind of social world must speakers assume such that they speak this way?”(p.793).In returning to my interview with Michelle, it appears that through our talk we areassembling 1) a world where at times reading researchers may only be interested in the“literature” people read, 2) a world where at times “reading” may only mean consuming“literature” and 3) a world where at times only readers of “literature” (read elite people)will be considered to be “readers”. However, through our talk-in-interaction we are also129assembling aworld wherereading researchersmay also beinterested in awide range ofmeaning makingactivities, includingthe consumptionof texts for “work”,“parenting”,“entertainment”and “shopping”,where readingmay include“following pictures”andwhere “readers”may be non-elitepeople who consume“directions”, “instructions”and“boxes of macaroni”.The kind of worldwe seem to be assumingis one where at timesthere are vastdifferences betweenvarious forms ofmeaning making,texts and “readers”and at timesthere are few,if any, differencesbetween these activities,phenomena andpeople.In addition,we appear totake into account someof the ways that readinghas beenan activityassociated withelite people as we confrontand challenge thisassociation. Wealso appear to challengethe notionthat only people whoconsume alphabetic textsare“readers”. Inour production ofreading and readersvia our talk of creatingorigami,Michelle andI suggest thecategory “readers”does and should includethose whoprimarily makemeaning throughimages. As note inChapters One, Twoand Seven, thereare long standingand enduringassociationsbetween being a“reader” and being a“goodperson”! “middleclass!elite person”!“consumer ofalphabetic print”! “consumerofliterature”. Inthis way, whenMichelle and I producedreading as an activitythat ispracticed by“ordinary” peoplefor ordinary purposes,and of reading asan activity that isinvolves makingmeaning frompictures, we can beseen to challengeto traditionalunequal socialrelations.In thinkingabout my interviewwith Jolene, it seemsthat the kind of worldwe areconstructing throughour talk is onewhere peoplewho read “for fun”and “on thecomputer” aresometimes consideredto be readers,where reading researchersare130sometimes interested in theseactivities and where sometimes these activities areconsidered to be “reading”. Our talksuggests a world where these kinds of broadunderstandings of reading, readers andreading research are possible, but where they arenot taken for granted. In otherwords, our interaction reflects and constructs anunderstanding that broad understandings ofreading may not be normative in researchinterviews between a parent and ateacher-librarian-researcher. Similarly, in my interviewwith Anna, we appear to beconstructing a world where reading in Chinese and reading inEnglish are sometimes seen as equallyimportant to reading researchers, where reading inlanguages other than English issometimes recognized as reading and where people whoread in languages other than English aresometimes recognized as readers. Our talksuggests that the equivalency of reading inlanguages other than English and reading inEnglish is controversial, at least withinthe context of research interviews between ateacher and a teacher-librarian researcherwho is white, middle class and speaks Englishas a first language.In thinking about the productionof reading, readers and social in/equality, it bearsnoting that in each of the extracts in this chapter,the participants and I make moves tochallenge the idea that only some ways of readingand only some people and should beconsidered as legitimate reading/readers. In myinitial exchange with Michelle, we workto broaden a definition of reading from“reading literature” to reading things associatedwith “work” “shopping” “family” and “entertainment”.In my subsequent exchanges withMichelle we construct using new technologies in everydaygrocery shopping trips (likethe “self-scan”) as “reading”. In myfinal exchange with Michelle, we construct usingpictures to make meaning as a form ofreading. In my exchange with Jolene, we similarly131open upreading asa categorythat couldbe appliedto a rangeof activities,texts andpurposes.In doingso, we workto establishthat peoplewho “readfor fun” andpeoplewho read “onthe computer”are readers.In my exchangewith Anna,we establishthatpeople whoread inlanguagesother thanEnglish arereaders andthat readingcrosseslinguisticborders.The analysispresentedhere suggestsparents, teachersand teacher-librarian-researchersare capableand willingto challengeand questionunequal socialrelationsand valuesas well astraditionalideas of “reading”!“readers”.In the nextchapter, Iprovide asummaryof this studyand discussthe implicationsof this analysisfor educators,teacher-educators,teacher-librarians,policy writers,researchers,parents andother stakeholdersinterestedin literacyeducation andsocialinlequality.I examinesome of thechallengesthat this analysisbrings with itfor thesestakeholdersand someof the waysthat we canaddressthese challenges.I concludewithdirectionsfor furtherresearch.132CHAPTER NINEIMPLICATIONS AND CONCLUSION“The definition of what is and whatis not literacy is always a profoundly politicalmatter.” (Woolard & Scheifflen, 1994,p.66)“In any specific context, categorizations andthe construction of similarity and differencecan be treated and analyzed as situatedboundary work.” (Horton-Saiway, 2001;,. p.14?).In this chapter, I provide a summary ofthe dissertation so far and discuss theimplications of this analysis for educators,teacher-educators, teacher-librarians, policywriters, researchers, parents and other stakeholdersinterested in reading/literacyeducation and social inlequality. Iexamine some of the challenges that this analysisbrings with it for these stakeholdersand some of the ways that we can address thesechallenges. I conclude with adiscussion of the significance of this study and directionsfor future research.Reading and Re-thinking: The Cultural Productionof Reading, Readers and SocialIn/EqualityIn this study, I have consideredsome of the ways that parents, teachers and ateacher-librarian-researcher producereading, readers and social inlequality in the contextof “research interviews”. In ChapterOne, I introduced the study and outlined my centralresearch questions. The centralresearch questions for this study were: 1) How are readingand readers produced in researchinterviews between parents, teachers and a teacherlibrarian-researcher? and 2) What kinds of socialrelations and values are produced in and133through this talk of reading and readers? In Chapter Two, I examined some of theliterature that suggests the need to study the cultural production of reading and readers insocial interaction. In particular, I highlighted recent studies that suggest a relationshipbetween accounts of reading and the production of social in!equality. In Chapter Two, Ialso noted that few studies had looked at this problem in terms of social interaction or hadexamined the cultural production of reading, readers and social inlequality in talk-ininteraction.In Chapters Three, Four and Five, I outlined some of the theoretical frameworksthat have informed this study including socio-cultural and socio-linguistic theories ofliteracy, socio-cultural theories of learning, theories of cultural production and twoapproaches to analyzing talk: membership categorization analysis and conversationanalysis. In each of these chapters I outlined the origins and tenets of these theories andwhat they could offer t study of reading, readers and social inlequality in researchinterviews.In Chapter Six, I described my method of data generation and analysis andintroduced the participants. I also noted the ways that I worked to insure thetrustworthiness of my analysis. In Chapter Seven, I examined examples of the culturalproduction of reading and readers found in the majority of the data. In these excerpts,reading, readers and my interests as a reading researcher were treated as a self-evident.As illustrated via a range of examples, in the majority of the data, the participants and Ispent no conversational turns directly defining reading or readers and initially, it wasdifficult for me to see how reading and readers were being produced in these interactions.However, when I began to look at the data as “Institutional Talk”, and when I began toF134pay attention to the recipient design in the participants’ and my own utterances, I beganto see how we were producing reading, readers and social in/equality in and through ourtalk. In particular, I began to see the data as deeply enmeshed in the institutions of“schooling”, “the interview” and “research”. In recognizing some of the consistenciesacross the data, such as a tendency to gloss “reading”, or to treat. it as self-evident, Ibegan to see these consistencies as evidence of the rights/obligations of teachers/teacher-librarian-researchers and parents invOlved in “research interviews”.In Chapter Seven, I also noted that the participants and I consistently constructedreading as a “good thing” and being a reader as a valuable identity, often through the useof “extreme case formulations”. Through an attention to recipient design, I began to seehow the participants positioned me/I positioned myself as a reader, and as an evaluator ofreading/readers. I also began to see how we both positioned the participants as “subjectsto be evaluated” and that at times we perfectly reproduced age-old assumptions andbeliefs about reading as something that made people “better people”(Brandt, 2001;Collins & Blot, 2003). I noted that at times the participants and I went so far as to suggestthat reading made people “more compassionate”, “more intellectual”, more capable ofavoiding “difficulties”/ “trouble”, more capable of securing employment that reflectedtheir “brilliance” and made people “constructive members of society” and hence that“not-reading” had the opposite effects. In all of these ways we were produced unequalsocial relations and non-egalitarian values regardless of my conscious desire to do theopposite.In Chapter Eight, I began to look at examples that represented alternative ways ofproducing reading and readers in the data set. In these cases, the participants and I135devoted numerous conversational turns to defining reading, readers and my interests as areading researcher. In the excerpts analyzed in that chapter, the participants and Iassembled a social world where reading was a contested term that needed to be defined inorder to carry out the business of a “reading research interview”. Through our talk-in-interaction, Michelle, Jolene, Anna and I worked to define reading as something thatcould involve consuming “literature” but could also involve every day activities such aswork, entertainment and shopping. We discussed reading as a term that had multiplemeanings including consuming text from electronic media, consuming text for thepurposes of school and ‘fun’ and consuming text in languages other than English.However, throughout our negotiations we also constructed a world where theseunderstandings of reading were/are marked as controversial. At no point in ourdiscussions did we indicate that these understandings were dominant or “common sense”.In the next section, I consider the implications of this analysis for educators and teachereducators, teacher-librarians, policy writers and researchers. I then discuss the widersignificance of this study.SignificanceThis study is significant for several reasons. First, in terms of literacy research,this study builds on the work of scholars such as Barton and Hamilton (2000), CookGumperz (2006), Kress (2000), McHoul (1991), Street (1984, 2000a) and Woolard andSchieffelin (1994) as it illustrates how “reading” and “readers” are socially constructed.As seen in Chapters Seven and Eight, the participants and I actively negotiated how wewere going to be using the words “reading” and “reader” in and through our talk. While136this kind of negotiation appeared more obvious in someof the interactions, such as myinteractions with Michelle, Jolene and Anna, this kind of negotiation was also present ininteractions where reading was “glossed” as participants and I used our institutionalidentities to do some of the work of defining reading.Second, following the work of scholars such as Baker (1991) and Freebody andBaker (2003), this analysis also illustrates how social relations and values are produced inand through “talk of reading and readers”. This study highlights some of the ways thatsocial inlequality is created, sustained and challenged in talk “about reading”. Theanalysis presented in this study suggests that speaking of literacies or readings, ratherthan Literacy and Reading may help to challenge the production of social inequality. Indoing so, this research helps to substantiate some of the claims of scholars connected tothe New Literacy Studies. In this study, the use of broad definitions of reading assertedthe legitimacy of ordinary (rather than elite) people to be seen as “readers” (read: goodpeople). However, echoing the work of Brandt and Clinton (2002), Cameron (2000) andCollins and Blot (2003), this study also suggests we cannot assume we are creatingegalitarian social relations and values merely by speaking of literacies / readings, or ofliteracy/reading as multiple. The participants in this study, (myself included), producedun-egalitarian social relations and values even while we spoke of “literacies”/ “readings”.Third, this analysis highlights how institutional roles can bring with them therights and obligations to act in un-egalitarian ways or to reproduce unequal socialrelations and values regardless of our best intentions. While I thought of myself ascommitted to creating egalitarian social relations and values with the participants, in myanalysis I found myself upholding my obligation as a teacher-librarian researcher to137speak of reading in narrow and vague ways, ways that I see as connected to un-egalitariansocial relations and values. Similarly, while I often wanted to interrupt the participantswhen they presented what I considered to be narrow accounts of “reading” and “readers”,I generally respected my obligation as an “interviewer”! “researcher” to listen, rather thanto speak.Fourth, in terms of research methodologies, this study illustrates how researchinterviews “about reading” between parents, teachers and a teacher-librarian researchermay tell us more about the institutions of “school”, “the interview” and “research” thanthey do about participants’ historical or current literacy practices. While the interviewprotocol focused on drawing out participants’ memories of reading/writing and on theircurrent uses of reading/writing, the actual interview data showed ample evidence of itbeing “institutional talk”. In particular, there was evidence of “inferential frameworksand procedures” and evidence of constraints on what would be considered to be“allowable” contributions (Heritage, 2005). These frameworks were particularly evidentin interactions where reading was “glossed” as such utterances were marked asspecifically designed for the particular audience and setting of this specific researchinterview. The overwhelming commonalities amongst the data can also be seen asevidence of particular constraints on what would be considered to be “allowable”contributions. For example, as noted in Chapter Seven, at no point in any of theinterviews did any of the participants indicate that they didn’t care about reading or thatthey thought reading was an over-rated pastime.Fifth, this study builds on the work of scholars such as Baker (2002), Holstein andGubrium (2004) and Talmy (2008) as it illuminates the usefulness of recognizing138interview data as social interaction in a study of cultural production and socialinlequality. The analysis presented here helps to illustrate how approachinginterviewdata as social interaction allows us to see social relationsand values being created,maintained and challenged in subtle, moment to moment ways. In contrast to moretraditional interview studies that provide content analysis of interview data, this studyoutlines some of the ways that we can see ideologies being built up and broken downthrough talk-in-interaction.Sixth, this study also demonstrates how approaching interview data as socialinteraction can provide a means for evaluating the cultural production of socialinlequality in “research interviews”. In doing so, this analysis provides an example ofhow critical researchers might evaluate the efficacy of their own work via an analysis ofwhat they actually do in their day-to-day research activities.Seventh, following the work of scholars such as Kitzinger (2000; 2005), Oharaand Saft (2003), Stokoe (2003), Stokoe and Smithson (2001) Talmy (in press a; in pressb;) this study demonstrates how microanalytic tools such as membership categorizationanalysis and conversation analysis could be useful for examining critical questions. Thisstudy provides another example of how critical researchers could make use of these kindsof tools to substantiate their claims.Implications and Directions for Future ResearchThe analysis presented here holds numerous implications for educators andteacher-educators, teacher-librarians, policy writers and researchers. Some of theseimplications are connected to issues of “literacy”! “reading” and others are more focusedon issues of research. First, in terms of “literacy”! “reading”, this analysis raises questions139about what we are actually doing when we talk, read and write “about reading”. If, asevidenced in Chapters Seven and Eight, “reading” and “readers” are socially constructed,or produced in social interaction, then these constructs and categories are inherentlyunstable. However, for the most part, educators and researchers continue to speak andwrite of “reading” and “readers” as known entities, or as things/people that can beidentified, assessed and programmed for at a great distance. This study suggests the needto continue to rethink our conceptions of “reading” and “readers” and to continue topopularize some of the work of Street (1984, 2000a) and others who have made clear thedifference between autonomous and situated models of literacy.Second, this analysis highlights the need to ask what kinds of social relations andvalues we are creating in and through our talk or writing about “reading”. While thisstudy speaks specifically to the kinds of social relations and values produced in “researchinterviews about reading”, by extension, it raises questions about the kinds of socialrelations and values that are being created in other “conversations” “about reading” suchas those found in classrooms, policy documents and research journals. This studysuggests there is a need to examine the social relations and values that are produced inand through “everyday” and “specialized” talk/writing “about reading”. In particular, thisstudy suggests the importance of considering our definitions of reading, or our “readingideologies”, before we enter a classroom/library, write a policy or begin/report on aresearch project, as we may be unwittingly producing unequal social relations and valuesthrough our common sense assumptions about “literacy”/ “reading”.Similarly, this study raises questions about how, or if, we can work for egalitariansocial relations and values in our talk/writing of “reading” and “readers”. Future140educators and researchers might consider howusing terms other than “reading” such as“literacies” or “communication” could,launch newaccounts of meaning making thatsupport the production of egalitarian social relations andvalues, as more people may feelcomfortable naming themselves as “communicators”than naming themselves as“readers”. However, following the work of Brandtand Clinton (2002), Cameron (2000)and Collins and Blot (2003), this study suggests the needto continue to critically evaluatehow the New Literacy Studies/Multi-literacies project(s)are taken up in research,pedagogy, policy and practice. As demonstrated in this study, merely changing how wedescribe “reading” (e.g. speaking of “readings” ratherthan “reading”) may not be enoughto really change unequal social relations and un-egalitarianvalues.Third this study raises questions about how institutional roles such as teacher,teacher-educator, teacher-librarian, parent, policy writer, researcher, student and childmay bring with them the obligation to act in un-egalitarianways or to talk/write/listen inexpected patterns. This study suggests the need to examine “common sense”assumptions about the obligations of all of these actors and the ways that suchassumptions can challenge or reinforce socialinequality. Baker (1991) and others havesuggested that many commonplace and expected waysof “speaking as a teacher” work toreinforce unequal social relations and values. Future research might consider how“speaking like a parent”, “speaking like a child”, “speaking like a teacher-educator”,“writing like a researcher” or “writing like a policy writer” may accomplishsome of thesame or different social work.Fourth, this study alerts us to the importance ofconsidering interview data as“institutional talk”. This study highlights howinstitutional roles and relationships may be141central to the data we generate in “research interviews”. In doing so, this studyrecommends keeping in mind some of the insights of applied conversational analysiswhen we conduct our analysis of interview data. Future researchers may find using theseinsights helps to unlock their data in new and important ways. In particular, these tOolsmay help to reveal some of the ideologies connected to various institutions such asschooling, “the interview” and “research”.Fifth, this study suggests there are many benefits to approaching interview data associal interaction in a study of cultural production and social in/equality. This studyrecommends analyzing interviews as social interactions in order to illustrate how variousphenomena are produced in and through talk in interaction. While this kind of studycannot provide a checklist for how to create social equality, it can help us to see whatmoves work to reinforce social inequality and what moves tend to promote egalitariansocial relations and values. In addition, analyzing interview data as social interactionallows us to examine the impact of our own work as critical researchers in a veryimmediate way. This study suggests some of the tools of methods of analysis likemembership categorization analysis and conversation analysis may be useful for criticalresearchers interested in approaching interview data as social interaction.Ultimately, this study reminds us that what we are doing as teachers, teachereducators, teacher-librarians, researchers and policy writers in “small seminar rooms atthe back of the library”, in “empty classrooms” and full classrooms, in schoolyards, inoffices and libraries is part and parcel of what is happening outside those places, acrossthe street and throughout the cities and countries where we live and work. CitingRaymond Williams, Woolard and Schieffelin (1994) remind us that “a definition of142language is always implicitly orexplicitly, a definition of human beings in the world”(Williams, 1977, p. 21; in Woolard &Schieffelin, 1994, p.56). In doing so, they remindus to think about our definitions ofliteracy/reading as “language ideologies” or as sets ofbeliefs that are “partial, contestable and contested andinterest laden”. This study helps tosubstantiate these claims and recommends deeper considerationof how particularinterests are served by particular methods of producing reading.The challenge for those of us who would like to continue to conduct interviewsabout reading with parents and teachers is to thinkof ways that we can play a part increating new narratives of reading/readersthat include everyone as readers/literates(valuable people) without pretending that all literacies are equally valued in school/outofit. As argued by Cameron (2000) andBrandt and Clinton (2002), the recognition ofmultiple forms of literacy and diverse ways of being readers cannot challengesocialin/equality on their own. 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Don Mills, Ont: Oxford University Press.Zimmerman, D. (2005). Introduction: Conversationanalysis and social problems. SocialProblems, 52(4), 445-448.150APPENDICESAPPENDIX ISemi-Structured Interview ProtocolAdapted with Permission from Dr. Victoria Purcell Gates’Cultural Practices of Literacy StudyBrief BiographyWhen and where were you born?Who was in your family at the time of your birth?What were your parents/the people looking after you doing for work?Have you moved from the place you were born? (If yes, when and why did you mOve?)What languages do you speak/read/write?What languages did you hear growing up/see around you?Historical Family and Community Communication/Literacy PracticesWhen you were a child, what kinds of thingsdid people in your family read regularly?When you were a child, what kinds of things did your family write regularly?When you were a child what kinds of things did other people in your community read orwrite?Do you think that the way you feelabout reading/writing is about the same or different insome way from how people in your community and in your family felt?Historical School Communication/LiteracyPracticesWhen you were in school what kind of things did youread in elementary school/highschool/ post-secondary school. as part of school instruction/assignments?What types of things did you particularly enjoy? Dislike? Find Difficult?Find Boring?Why? Examples?Were there things that you read outsideof school during your years in elementaryschool/high school/ post-secondary school?What kinds of things did you writein elementary school/high school/ post-secondaryschool as part of the schoolinstruction/assignments?Which of these literacy practices/thingsdid you particularly enjoy? Dislike? FindDifficult? Find Boring? Why? Examples?Were there things that you wroteoutside of school during your years in elementaryschool/high school! post-secondaryschool?When you were in school, do youremember what you thought about learning to read?About learning to write?Do you think the reading and writingyou did at school prepared you for the kinds ofthings that you read and write now?Why or why not, or in what ways?151How do you think the reading/writingyou did at school similarto or different than thereading/writing you do nowas an adult?Current Literacy Evaluation/RemediationPracticesHow do people in school evaluatereading/writing?If someone is having difficultywith reading/writinghow would people insideschoolassess that problem?Why is it considered importantto assess reading/writing inschool?How are reading/writingremediated in school?Or what kinds of interventionsare used inschool to help kids who arestruggling with reading/writing?Why is it seen as importantto remediate students whohave difficulty withreading/writing?What is the most common explanationfor why some studentshave difficulty withreading/writing?Why do you think some kids havedifficulty with reading/writing?How do people outside of schoolevaluate reading/writing?Historical Literacy Evaluation/RemediationPracticesWhen you were a kid canyou remember any childrenhaving difficulty withreading/writing?Do you remember what was doneat the time for thesestudents?Can you remember what wassaid at the time aboutwhy these students werestruggling?Can you remember what wassaid at the time about whyspecial measures werebeingtaken with these students?/why people felt it was importantfor everyone to read?Can you remember any significantshifts. in terms of literacyevaluation in yourlifetime —a time when one method of assessmentwas picked up or dropped?Can you think of any alternativeways in which literacy couldbe assessed beyond theassessments you have mentioned?Can you think of any alternative waysthat students who are strugglingwith literacy couldbe supported beyond those you havementioned?152APPENDIX IITranscription Symbols(A Simplified Version of the Jeffersonian Transcription Symbols modified from thatpresented in Wooffitt, 2001; p. 62)(.)A period inside a bracket indicates a brief pause.A question mark indicates a rising inflection.- A dash indicates a sharp cut off of a prior word or sound.Under Underlined words indicate speaker emphasis.A comma indicates a continuing intonation.[] Square brackets indicate the onset and end of overlapping talk.[[A double left-hand bracket indicates that speakers start a turn at thesame time(?) Bracket with a question mark indicates an unclear fragment.Colon indicates that the speaker has stretched the preceding soundor letter.((laughs)) A description inside a double bracketindicates a non-verbal sound.153The University of British ColumbiaOffice of Research Services and AdministrationBehavioural Research Ethics BoardCertificate of ApprovalPRINCIPAL INVESTIGATOR DEPARTMENT NUMBERAnderson, J.G. Language and Literacy EducB05-0255INSTITUTION(S) WHERE RESEARCHWILL BE CARRIED OUTCO-INVESTIGATORS:Moffatt, Lyndsay, Language and Literacy EducSPONSORING AGENCIESTITLE:Discourses of Literacy and Learning in an UrbanCommunityAPPROVAL DATE TERM (YEARS) DOCUMENTSINCLUDED IN THIS APPROVAL:1 April 1, 2005, Contact letter / Consent form I March10,2005, QuestionnairesCERTIFICATION:The protocol describing the above-namedproject has been reviewed by theCommittee and the experimental procedures werefound to be acceptable on ethicalgrounds for research involving human subjects.Approval ofthe BehaviouralPoA-’rch Ethics Board by one ofthefollowing:Dr. Y4n’s Frankish, Chair,Dr. Cay Ptolbrook, Associate Chair,Dr. Susan Rowley, Associate ChairDr. Anita Hubley, Associate ChairThis Certificate of Approval is valid forthe above term provided there is no change inthe experimental procedures154The University of British ColumbiaOffice of Research Services and AdministrationBehavioural Research Ethics BoardCertificate of ApprovalPRINCIPAL INVESTIGATOR DEPARTMENTNUMBER*Purcell-Gates, V. Language and LiteracyEducBO4-0670INSTITUTION(S) WHERE RESEARCH WILL BE CARRIED OUTUBC Campus,CO-INVESTIGATORS:SPONSORING AGENCIES.:‘ . -.....-.- -. . ..‘Ciltwøftsof’e,iSttthyAPPROVAL RENEWED DATE TERM (YEARS)AU62,2OO51CERTIFICATION:The protocol describing the above-named projecthas been reviewed by theCommittee and the experimental procedureswere found to be acceptable on ethicalgrounds for research involving human subjects.Approval ofthe Behaviour 1 search Ethics Boardby one ofthefollowing:r. J mes Frankish, Chair,Dr. Holbrook, Associate Chair,Dr. Susan Rowley, Associate ChairThis Certificate of Approval is valid for the above term providedthere is no change inthe experimental procedures155

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