Home > Research > Publications & Outputs > Their Own Voices: Vernacular Literacies in the ...

Electronic data

  • 11003791.pdf

    Final published version, 8.26 MB, PDF document

    Available under license: CC BY-ND

View graph of relations

Their Own Voices: Vernacular Literacies in the Lives of Young People.

Research output: ThesisDoctoral Thesis

  • Inran Choi
Publication date2002
Number of pages364
Awarding Institution
Place of PublicationLancaster
  • Lancaster University
Electronic ISBNs9780438573703
<mark>Original language</mark>English


This research study explores the uses and meanings of vernacular literacy practices engaged in by Korean young people. Utilizing an ethnographic approach, the ways in which eleven adolescents integrate print and electronic media into their lives are demonstrated through participant observation, in-depth interview and the study of realia. In place of the traditional autonomous model of literacy conceptualising literacy as a set of decontextualised skills and competences, the central theoretical framework for this study is the ideological model of literacy, which acknowledges both the ideological nature of, as well as the power structures embedded in, literacy practices. The social approach adopted by this research is consistent with the ethos of New Literacy Studies. The multiplicity of literacy practices and the variety of forms of interpersonal interaction exhibited by them are presented and interpreted in order to show how young people learn to use unsanctioned literacy practices as communicative, expressive, and transformative tools for shaping their social worlds, their thoughts, and their identities. The power relations embedded in literacy practices, the ways in which the power dynamic is played out in home, school and church, and how people resist, negotiate and perpetuate power structures are all subjects which are discussed. There is an exploration of the relationship between literacy and gender and how gender identity and representation is treated in textual experience, with particular emphasis on texts used by young women. The study concludes that vernacular literacy is best understood as social practice and that it deserves much greater recognition and academic investigation in that it holds significant potential for a greater understanding of youth.