Chapter 3 Shifting Tensions in Boys' Stories to Live by About Literacy

Adolescent Boys' Literate Identity

ISBN: 978-0-85724-905-0, eISBN: 978-0-85724-906-7

ISSN: 1479-3687

Publication date: 3 May 2011


A story that Robert told in class during this research exposes the tension of simultaneously studying literacy and identity when submission and control are also processes at work in the story. There are two pieces of this story. In the first part of the story, Robert relates the narrative. The second part consists of the details of the story he told. Both pieces can be used to illustrate different elements of the tension between studying literacy and identity as a single construct labeled literate identity. In addition to suggesting a metaphor for literacy and identity, Robert's story navigates the constructs of submission and control that Wong (2008) discusses in terms of the aesthetic of motivation. The tension between submission and control when coupled with an exploration of literacy and identity has implications for the notions of resistance to literacy in the field of boys' literacy as well as the being and doing of literacy for the boys in this study.Our class began with the students congratulating Robert on his storytelling. When I inquired further, I found out that Robert had started to tell the legend of Cupid and Psyche in a previous class, but he had run out of time. The rest of the students expressed interest in hearing the story, either for the first time, or to know the end. Initially, his telling ebbed and flowed. He apologized for his lack of fluency and explained he was trying to provide us the parts of the story we would find the most interesting. Eventually he settled into a rhythm and finished 50 minutes later. (Reconstructed field note, December 2009)


Rice, M. (2011), "Chapter 3 Shifting Tensions in Boys' Stories to Live by About Literacy", Rice, M. (Ed.) Adolescent Boys' Literate Identity (Advances in Research on Teaching, Vol. 15), Emerald Group Publishing Limited, Bingley, pp. 35-61.

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