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Adolescents’ Online Literacies

Connecting Classrooms, Digital Media, and Popular Culture – Revised edition

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Edited By Donna E. Alvermann

This revised edition of Adolescents’ Online Literacies: Connecting Classrooms, Digital Media, and Popular Culture features a variety of digital tools for humanizing pedagogy. For example, the book examines numerous artistic representations of young people’s self-selected graphic novels and fan fiction as part of an in-class multi-genre unit on fandom. This edition makes concrete connections between what the research portrays and what teachers, school librarians, and school media specialists know to be the case in their interactions with young people at the middle and high school level. The contributors of these chapters – educators, consultants, and researchers who span two continents – focus on ways to incorporate and use the digital literacies that young people bring to school.
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Chapter 6: Textual Play, Satire, and Counter Discourses of Street Youth Zining Practices

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TEXTUAL PLAY, SATIRE, AND COUNTER DISCOURSES OF STREET YOUTH ZINING PRACTICES

Theresa Rogers and Kari-Lynn Winters

The term homeless implies something missing. I call it “homefree.”

—MARCIN, FROM ANOTHER SLICE INTERVIEW

Marcin, one of the street youth we met during the course of a year working on a zine project, voices an opinion above that was prevalent among the group. Many of the youth energetically embrace the street culture, at least temporarily, and have much to say to the rest of the world about homelessness. The zine they created, Another Slice, represents this energy and voice. With sophisticated uses of textual play and satire, the zine counters the discourses commonly circulating about homeless people (Hermer & Mosher, 2004).

The work the youth produced in the zine also speaks to the differences in the kinds of literacy practices adolescents are engaged with across more and less formal learning contexts, such as inside and outside of schools (Alvermann, 2001; Hull & Schultz, 2001; McCarthey & Moje, 2001). This chapter extends such observations into the world of some of our most marginalized youth by looking closely at the literacy practices of adolescents and young adults living on the margins of society as examples of powerful cultural productions.

As researchers in the areas of literacy and media have observed, citizens on the margins of society often engage in “tactical” (DeCerteau, 1984) uses of public spaces—creatively...

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