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Title: Adolescent literacies for critical social and community engagement
Contributor(s): Humphrey, Sally Louise (author); Unsworth, Leonard  (supervisor); MacKen-Horarik, Mary (supervisor)
Conferred Date: 2009
Copyright Date: 2008
Open Access: Yes
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Abstract: This thesis aims to describe the literacy practices of adolescents who are engaged actively and critically with their communities. In particular it is concerned to make explicit the semiotic resources adolescents deploy to persuade their multiple audiences to effect social change and to build solidarity within the social spaces they inhabit. The study aims to interpret these semiotic resources within their wider social, socio-political and cultural contexts and to respond to concerns by literacy educators and wider social and political theorists to celebrate and make visible the processes and practices of adolescent active citizenship. Data for the study include texts produced by six adolescents involved in two social movements during 2004 and 2005. These texts represent a range of modalities including speeches and radio interviews, print newspaper commentaries, published essays and online weblogs and magazines. The social contexts of texts were analysed using theories from systemic functional linguistics and new literacy studies. The linguistic construal of persuasion was examined using genre theory and the discourse semantic theories of negotiation and appraisal. These theories were enriched with complementary perspectives from new rhetorical studies. The study found that adolescents draw on a wide range of semiotic resources to persuade multiple audiences in the civic domain. The activists deployed rhetorical strategies valued by mainstream politicians, social commentators and activists as well as those valued within the academic and personal domains of their lives. The choice of semiotic resources was found to be motivated by the complex roles, relationships and social positioning of the young activists in relation to their audiences as well as by the constraints and freedoms of the modalities in which the texts were situated. The intertextual positioning of the texts within larger social semiotic affiliations and sociopolitical environments was also found to have a considerable impact on the reading of the texts.
Publication Type: Thesis Doctoral
Field of Research Codes: 130204 English and Literacy Curriculum and Pedagogy (excl LOTE, ESL and TESOL)
Rights Statement: Copyright 2008 - Sally Louise Humphrey
HERDC Category Description: T2 Thesis - Doctorate by Research
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