Fostering Impossible Possibles through Critical Media Literacies

Authored by: Zacher Pandya Jessica , Golden Noah Asher

Handbook of Writing, Literacies, and Education in Digital Cultures

Print publication date:  August  2017
Online publication date:  August  2017

Print ISBN: 9781138206304
eBook ISBN: 9781315465258
Adobe ISBN:


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In this chapter, we define writing, literacies, and education in digital cultures as a Bourdieusian field, fundamentally a field of struggles, and explore some of the ideological and practical ramifications of viewing the field as a “field.” Such an undertaking requires understanding the power dynamics that allow only some of us to define fields, critique products, and name what Bourdieu called “impossible possibles” (2000). Our analysis of this particular field of cultural production—of authors, readers, and digital texts—affords understandings of how digital literacies are shifting and have shifted the possibilities of authorship and readership. Our survey of the field will show how we currently understand what it means to create spaces for “cognitive subversion” and then “political subversion” through a Bourdieusian framework (Bourdieu, 1991, pp. 127–128). By this, we mean space for questioning the “naturalization of…arbitrariness” (Bourdieu, 2008), or doxa, of what is considered to be critical, a space for moving the field forward via work that analyzes the conditions in the fields we as literacy researchers engage. If our larger goals are to build knowledge and work toward social justice in an unjust world, we must aim to convert our visions of the world. We must understand the ways the field in which we write and research shapes and is shaped by the larger field of power, or we may miss key moments of fluidity, key shifting points, places where power, and even reality, are fluid and might be cognitively, and then politically, subverted.

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