Sensing and configuring the world with text: bringing neo-Vygotskian thinking into dialogue with more-than-human literacies in early childhood

Rodriguez Leon, Lucy (2021). Sensing and configuring the world with text: bringing neo-Vygotskian thinking into dialogue with more-than-human literacies in early childhood. Discourse: Studies in the cultural politics of education (Early access).

DOI: https://doi.org/10.1080/01596306.2021.2008321

Abstract

Research framed by evolving sociocultural theories have been fundamental in advancing the study of early childhood literacy. More recently the field has been enriched by posthumanist theories that have shifted the analytic gaze from children’s participation in literacy, to the fluid relationality of literacies. Concurrently, neo-Vygotskian scholars have advanced cultural historical concepts to study a child and their environment in unity. This paper attempts to bring neo-Vygotskian thinking into dialogue with more-than-human literacies in early childhood. Drawing on vignettes generated from an ethnography involving 3-4-year-old children, the aim is to explore the in-between-ness of the child and the socio-material environment during their encounters with text, to gain insights into the child’s emerging idiosyncratic and subjectively produced experiences in the dynamic relations. From this conceptual space, this paper muses over three novel ways to conceive of young children’s encounters with text. Firstly, it positions the literacy event as a relational - idiosyncratic experience; secondly, it proposes that children’s intention and orientation with text emerge relationally and subjectively, and thirdly that micromoments with text can be sites of potential transformation in children’s emerging understandings of literacies, and in their perceptions of themselves as producers and consumers of text.

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