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Migrating literacies in global and digital worlds: Exploring linguistic diversity, cultural knowledge, and social identities of urban youth

, New York University, United States

New York University . Awarded


The increased linguistic and cultural diversity of our students affirms that dichotomized perspectives of education, as privileging the dominant and marginalizing the dominated, no longer fully captures the issues that schools are facing in the twenty – first century. Current research demonstrates that students must develop multilingual and cross-cultural competencies to manage diverse networks of relationships in our global and digital world (Lam, 2006; Suarez – Orozco & Qin – Hilliard, 2004). Given the vast migration of people, their ideas and their texts across physically and digitally mediated spaces (Appadurai, 1996; Banks, 2004), reading and writing pedagogies must account not only for improving adolescent literacy performance but also attend to the critical and ethical implications of living in an increasingly diverse linguistic and cultural society (Hull, et al., 2009; Noguera, 2008; Kirkland, 2009; Silverstone, 2007).

This ethnography of Filipino British youth in London, the Pinoys, speaks directly to these concerns. The Pinoys offer an alternative to the notion that people learn English because they are passive participants of Western ideological hegemony (Brutt – Griffler, 2002). They also challenge prescriptive approaches to literacy learning as they shape and are shaped by multimodal texts and digital technologies in their every day lives (Cope & amp; Kalantzis, 2000; Kress & amp; Van Leeuwen, 2001; New London Group, 1996). Contrary to the stillness that comes with viewing literacy as a fixed skills set, my work with the Pinoys will focus on their migrating literacies, a term that I use to describe their merging rather than distilling of their linguistic diversity, cultural knowledge, and social identitiesacross contexts. Migrating literacies functions as a form of participatory power that the Pinoys bend to their will to navigate the discourses of schools, homes, communities and workplaces (Bakhtin, 1981; Bourdieu, 1977; Freire & amp; Macedo, 1987; Gee, 1996; Rampton, 1995). By shifting the study of literacy from bounded spaces to examining migratory patterns, I seek to understand how youth today cultivate global voices and digital dexterities to participate as cultural agents in everyday social contexts.


Domingo, M. Migrating literacies in global and digital worlds: Exploring linguistic diversity, cultural knowledge, and social identities of urban youth. Ph.D. thesis, New York University. Retrieved October 21, 2019 from .

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