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Multiliteracies, Discourses and Identities

The Multiliteracy Practices of Chinese Children in Britain

Jing Sheng

This book explores the everyday reading and writing experiences of children from Chinese families living in Britain. Using an ethnographic approach, the author presents in-depth case studies of three migrant children, all of whom received some education in mainland China before moving to Britain. The theoretical framework is based on the New Literacy Studies approach and the author introduces a new conceptual and analytical term: the «Literacy Events Network».

The study investigates the links between the children’s social domains, identities and multilingual practices, exploring the power relations in which they are embedded and the ways they perceive themselves as they engage in literacy activities that connect their lives in Britain with China. The findings indicate that the children are not passive participants in the process of migration. Mediated by their parents and friends, they take part in a wide variety of literacy activities across multiple social settings, both online and offline. The book provides valuable insights into the uses and meanings of literacy for these children and opens up avenues for further research into the experiences of Chinese communities in Britain.

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There are many people who have helped me with this research, and without their support this book would not exist. In different ways, each of them has made a unique and essential contribution to my work and my life. Therefore, without having to list them one by one, I would like to express my deep appreciation for the part they have played in my research.

There are, however, certain people who stand out, and without whom I would not be where I am now.

First of all, sincere thanks go to Professor Mary Hamilton for her significant supervision, encouragement, advice and constructive criticism at all stages of this research. Great thanks to Mary, also, for helping to create a place and space for me among educational and literacy researchers in the Department of Educational Research and the Literacy Research Centre at Lancaster University, which, for me as a new Chinese researcher, was a rather strange environment. Thanks to all of her endeavours, my research project has now reached the level of quality that I hoped for.

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