Bare Writing: Comparing Multiliteracies Theory and Nonrepresentational Theory Approaches to a Young Writer
In this article, the author argues that new theoretical approaches to literacy are necessary for making visible the affective, embodied, and noncognitive domains of textual meaning making that are often obscured in traditional approaches. To accomplish this goal, the author conducted two analyses on the same data set, using the New London Group’s multiliteracies theory and nonrepresentational theory as respective lenses through which to view the data. To facilitate this demonstration, the author conducted a three-year virtual ethnographic case study of Emily, a young author, while she wrote a series of young adult gothic novels. These side-by-side analyses demonstrated how different views of Emily as an author emerged through each treatment of the data. In the analysis via the multiliteracies theory, she was shown to be a shrewd consumer and designer of multimodal compositions. The analysis via the nonrepresentational theory revealed her writing to be produced through its participation with affective intensities, objects, and her haunting by novels’ characters in a process that the author calls bare writing. The author suggests that the nonrepresentational theory provides an alternative model for the research of literacies that instantiates an ontological view of literacies, thereby including more people and more texts in the everyday doing of literacies.
Smith, A. R. (2017). Bare Writing: Comparing Multiliteracies Theory and Nonrepresentational Theory Approaches to a Young Writer. Reading Research Quarterly, 52.1, 125–140.