1st Edition

Undoing the Digital Sociomaterialism and Literacy Education

By Cathy Burnett, Guy Merchant Copyright 2020
    136 Pages
    by Routledge

    136 Pages
    by Routledge

    Undoing the Digital challenges common ways of understanding digital technology and its relationships to literacy and literacy education. The book explores how a sociomaterial perspective can provide an alternative analysis of literacy in the context of digital communication. 

    Introducing a series of conceptual tools and examples, the book examines digital communication as an emergent interweaving of social, material and semiotic resources. The perspective invites literacy research to focus more on the relations associated with the process of making meaning: the new collaborations, stories, conceptualisations, directions, and intentions that take shape in, and also help to shape, the contemporary mediascape. 

    Drawing on studies conducted in a variety of contexts, this book is key reading for all advanced students and researchers of literacy and digital media within Education, Applied Linguistics and Media/Communication Studies.

    List of tables



    1. Undoing the Digital
    2. The Instability of Things
    3. Making new sense of literacy
    4. In the Event
    5. Approaching Method from a Sociomaterial Perspective
    6. An ethic of caring
    7. Enchantment
    8. Rethinking literacy and education



    Cathy Burnett is Professor of Literacy and Education at Sheffield Hallam University where she leads the Language and Literacy in Education Research Group. Her research focuses on relationships between literacy and technology in and beyond educational settings. She is President of the United Kingdom Literacy Association.

    Guy Merchant is Professor of Literacy and Education in the Institute of Education at Sheffield Hallam University. He specialises in research on children and young people’s uses of digital communication. He is a founding editor of the Journal Early Childhood Literacy and co-author with Cathy Burnett of New Media in the Classroom (2018).

    "In Undoing the Digital, Burnett and Merchant make a clear and compelling case for taking up sociomaterial perspectives and relational ontologies in literacy research and practice. Starting from the belief that "literacy is always emergent," Burnett and Merchant develop powerful conceptual tools and frameworks that shift sociocultural literacy theory and research in significant ways. This is an immensely readable and important book."

    Michelle A. Honeyford, University of Manitoba, Canada


    "In this welcome and clear-sighted exploration of this tangled area, Burnett and Merchant bring their characteristic close observation and deep knowledge of children, classrooms, literacy and the digital to analyse the interweaving of technology and meaning making from a socio-material perspective. An outstanding contribution from two of the leading figures in the field."

    Catherine Beavis, Deakin University, Australia