Vol. 1:1 (2012) ► pp.15–34
Teens’ explorations of gender and sexual identities in conversations about/around preferred texts
This discourse analysis examines teens’ explorations of gender and sexual identities through their talk about their preferred texts accessed in the Young Adult section of a Midwestern public library. The discourse data collected over a two year period and analyzed using a recursive, ethnographic-style approach is informed by queer theory and New Literacy Studies. The practices of teens in the library complicate popular and scholarly discourse that constructs teens as peer-oriented, hormonally-controlled, and transitioning into adulthood. Their practices illustrate savvy, individual choices that allow teens to subvert the heterosexual norms of the adult controlled schools. The close connection between literacy choices and identity implies a need for educators to advocate for adolescents’ access to their preferred texts.
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