High School Students' Competing Social Worlds: Negotiating Identities and Allegiances in Response to Multicultural Literature, 1st Edition (Paperback) book cover

High School Students' Competing Social Worlds

Negotiating Identities and Allegiances in Response to Multicultural Literature, 1st Edition

By Richard Beach, Amanda Haertling Thein, Daryl L. Parks


350 pages

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Paperback: 9780805858556
pub: 2007-07-27
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This book examines how working-class high school students’ identity construction is continually mediated by discourses and cultural practices operating in their classroom, school, family, sports, community, and workplace worlds. Specifically, it addresses how responding to cultural differences portrayed in multicultural literature can serve to challenge adolescents’ allegiances to status quo discourses and cultural models, and how teachers not only can rouse students to clarify and change their value stances related to race, class, and gender, but also provide support for and validation of students’ self-interrogation.

Highlighting the influence of sociocultural forces, the book contributes to understanding the role of institutions in shaping adolescents’ lives, and identifies needs that must be addressed to improve those institutions. Current theory and research on critical discourse analysis, cultural models theory, and identity construction is meshed with specific applications of that theory and research to case-study profiles and analysis of classroom discussions. The instructional strategies described enable pre-service and in-service teachers to develop their own literature curriculum and instructional methods.


“I can’t imagine a more vivid rendering than this book provides of the central role that identity and cultural models play in the complex interaction of reader, text, and context at the heart of literary response. Such a project is long overdue.”

Cynthia Lewis

University of Minnesota

“This fascinating, data-driven volume is a vital contribution to the theory and research on reader response, multicultural education in general, and the teaching of multicultural literature specifically, as well as the literature on identity formation. The portrait of student resistance it details should ring true for virtually all those who teach multicultural literature and who entertain the hope that such reading will open students’ hearts and minds to some of our world’s painful history and current realities. ”

Joel Taxel

University of Georgia

Table of Contents

Contents: Preface. Constructing Mediated Identities Across Different Social Worlds. The Social Worlds Constituting Students’ Identities. Fostering Student Awareness of the Influence of Social Worlds on Characters and Readers. Critiquing Social Worlds Through Grappling With Dialogic Tensions. Parks’s Methods for Teaching Multicultural Literature. Identity Construction Congruent With the School World: Corey and Michelle. Identity Construction Challenging the School World: Devin and Kayla. Identity Construction and Racial Positioning: Kathy and Mai. Dialogic Tensions in Classroom Discussions of Love Medicine, Kindred, and Bastard out of Carolina. Summary and Implications for Teaching Multicultural Literature. Appendix A: Methods/Analysis/Coding. Appendix B: Literature Used in the Course and Recommended Literature From the College in the Schools Program.

Subject Categories

BISAC Subject Codes/Headings:
EDUCATION / Multicultural Education
PSYCHOLOGY / Developmental / Adolescent