what we exactly mean by adolescent literacies...

it's a thought/musing/dilemma that has arisen in a few pieces that i'm wrestling with at the moment, and among the questions that arise are:

which adolescents?
practices only?
(in what ways) are literacies spaces?
what happens when the literacies practices by adolescents are practiced by non-adolescents?
what are the bounds by which we discuss and delineate the literacies in the lives of adolescents?
how do we understand practices that exist outside of those bounds?

in the words of one young man who is no longer attending school and is enrolled in a court mandated GED program: [paraphrasing] the only time teachers or anyone says anything to us is to tell us we're doing something wrong.

where do we locate research about "new" literacies?

another young man in the same class uses his ipod nano to play solitaire - b/c it's helps him concentrate, and he wants to see how good he can get at it - while engaged in a social studies focused class discussion/lesson about social systems and forms of government.

my questions stem from the tension surrounding the dichotomizing of old/new literacies; digital/analog systems; and access/no-access to technologies. what questions do we investigate about the evolving landscape of literacies as it is played out in the lives of youth about whom little is written in the way of new literacies? writing, like that of of steve goodman and jabari mahiri, offers images of urban and inner city youth engaged in innovation, creativity, and discovery related to literacies and broader communicative practices. in doing so, they, and others, push our conceptions of where new literacies live, are embodied, and from where they emerge and are born. yet, so many of the questions we ask about new literacies don't seem to be situated in contexts determined to be technology-poor... and when literacies research is located in city contexts, there is often an underlying desire to prove existing deficit assumptions wrong. in doing so, do we not reify these assumptions? in spending time and word count on how/why something isn't, we lose space to tell what is and how... i've been a perpetrator of these practices myself, especially because i believe that dispelling erroneous assumptions can help to unravel some of the destructive practices that are currently in place in contexts where urban adolescents spend their time. but i find myself more and more wondering, and taking on the challenge of, describing "what is and how" - not as a counterpoint or counterstory, but as a story unto itself.

innovation as innovation.

and everyone is literate.

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