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


Recent research suggests the need to study how literacy and social in/equality are produced in social interaction. This dissertation focuses on the cultural production of “reading” and “readers” as one aspect of the cultural production of literacy. Using theories of cultural production, socio-cultural and socio-linguistic theories of literacy and ethnomethodological analyses of talk, this study examines the ways that parents, teachers and 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 on literacy”. The analysis presented here suggests that the participants co-constructed reading in a variety of ways. The most common method for producing or constructing reading was to “gloss” reading or to treat it as self-explanatory. A small portion of the data 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 and through their talk of reading. The production of un-equal social relations and un egalitarian values could be seen most clearly in the ways that the teacher-librarian researcher was consistently positioned as an arbiter of reading/readers. However, some interactions revealed the production of more equal social relations and more egalitarian values. Implications and directions for educators, teacher-educators, teacher-librarians, policy writers, researchers, parents and other stakeholders interested in qualitative research methods, reading/literaêy education, social in/equality are discussed.

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