Discourse Analysis and the Study of Classroom Language and Literacy Events: A Microethnographic Perspective, 1st Edition (Paperback) book cover

Discourse Analysis and the Study of Classroom Language and Literacy Events

A Microethnographic Perspective, 1st Edition

By David Bloome, Stephanie Power Carter, Beth Morton Christian, Sheila Otto, Nora Shuart-Faris


328 pages

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The authors present a social linguistic/social interactional approach to the discourse analysis of classroom language and literacy events. Building on recent theories in interactional sociolinguistics, literary theory, social anthropology, critical discourse analysis, and the New Literacy Studies, they describe a microethnographic approach to discourse analysis that provides a reflexive and recursive research process that continually questions what counts as knowledge in and of the interactions among teachers and students. The approach combines attention to how people use language and other systems of communication in constructing classroom events with attention to social, cultural, and political processes. The focus of attention is on actual people acting and reacting to each other, creating and recreating the worlds in which they live. One contribution of the microethnographic approach is to highlight the conception of people as complex, multi-dimensional actors who together use what is given by culture, language, social, and economic capital to create new meanings, social relationships and possibilities, and to recreate culture and language. The approach presented by the authors does not separate methodological, theoretical, and epistemological issues. Instead, they argue that research always involves a dialectical relationship among the object of the research, the theoretical frameworks and methodologies driving the research, and the situations within which the research is being conducted.

Discourse Analysis and the Study of Classroom Language and Literacy Events: A Microethnographic Perspective:

*introduces key constructs and the intellectual and disciplinary foundations of the microethnographic approach;

*addresses the use of this approach to gain insight into three often discussed issues in research on classroom literacy events--classroom literacy events as cultural action, the social construction of identity, and power relations in and through classroom literacy events;

*presents transcripts of classroom literacy events to illustrate how theoretical constructs, the research issue, the research site, methods, research techniques, and previous studies of discourse analysis come together to constitute a discourse analysis; and

*discusses the complexity of "locating" microethnographic discourse analysis studies within the field of literacy studies and within broader intellectual movements.

This volume is of broad interest and will be widely welcomed by scholars and students in the field language and literacy studies, educational researchers focusing on analysis of classroom discourse, educational sociolinguists, and sociologists and anthropologists focusing on face-to-face interaction and language use.


"With this book, Bloome et al. bring to bear powerful, dynamic theoretical and methodological lenses that, through careful discussion and analysis, serve to extend the fields of literacy studies and educational ethnography in terms of both clarity of terminology and warranted methodology….this volume is one starting point to look at power relations in classroom interaction, one that provides an important frame of analysis that can inform many. Through their examination of who does what with language to whom, when, where, how, with what significance, and for what purpose, this book embodies 'thick description in motion' and will be an important contribution to language and literacy research."

—Linguistics and Education

"Discourse Analysis and the Study of Classroom Language and Literacy Events: A Microethnographic Perspective provides a rich discussion of classroom discourse informed by careful and thoughtful analysis that draws together scholarly advances in sociocultural analysis, sociolinguistics, positionality, identity, power and meaning making. It offers to the field a book which can serve multiple purposes: an introduction to classroom analysis, a discussion of different lenses for exploring the dynamics of classrooms, an exploration of the key theorists in the aforementioned areas, and examples of classroom discourse with analyses that researchers and practitioners can use as the basis for pursuing their own analyses. At the same time, it represents a somewhat rare contribution….collaboration among school-based educators with university scholars. This volume is a timely and significant addition to the field."

—Robert Tierney

University of British Columbia

"[T]his book excels as a rare contribution to the field, with its unique theoretical underpinnings and meticulous application of the theoretical tools on everyday classroom discourse event." --Jasmine C. M. Luk, The Hong Kong Institute of Education, Critical Inquiry in Language Studies

Table of Contents

Contents: B.V. Street, Foreword. Introduction. A Microethnographic Approach to the Discourse Analysis of Classroom Language and Literacy Events. A Microethnographic Approach to the Discourse Analysis of Cultural Practices in Classroom Language and Literacy Events. Microethnographic Discourse Analysis and the Exploration of Social Identity in Classroom Language and Literacy Events. Microethnographic Discourse Analysis and the Exploration of Power Relations in Classroom Language and Literacy Events. Locating Microethnographic Discourse Analysis Studies of Classroom Language and Literacy Events and the Research Imagination. Appendix: Transcription Key.

Subject Categories

BISAC Subject Codes/Headings:
EDUCATION / Research
LANGUAGE ARTS & DISCIPLINES / Linguistics / General