Sociocultural and Power-Relational Dimensions of Multilingual Writing: Recommendations for Deindustrializing Writing Education

Author: Amir Kalan

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Hardback, Ebook(PDF), Ebook(EPUB)
Multilingual Matters
Number of pages:
234mm x 156mm

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This book reports findings from an ethnographic study of the literate lives of three adult multilingual writers, conducted in order to describe how their socioculturally embedded literacy activities enriched their writing lives. The book argues that multilingual writers who can effectively write in English have complex literate, intellectual and cultural backgrounds that impact their writing practices. Dominant writing pedagogies don't often regard tapping into those layers as important pedagogical components in the process of teaching writing. The book highlights the significance of paying more attention to sociocultural and power relational layers of writing and provides recommendations for language teachers, educational policy makers and language and literacy researchers. The book brings together the fields of literacy research and second language writing and treats writing in both first and additional languages as part of a whole.
Amir Kalan's participatory ethnographic research with three adult multilingual English writers reveals how monolingual language ideologies, formalist pedagogies, and industrialized assessment practices have kept Anglo-Americentric educational institutions oblivious to the richness and complexity of immigrants' cultural and discursive experience. Kalan's exemplary case studies show how this experience might be tapped as an intellectual catalyst, with writing re-figured as an emergent activity of hermeneutic design, semiotic dexterity, and rhetorical consciousness of language-power relations.

John Trimbur, Emerson College, USA

Kalan has written one of those rare scholarly texts in education which is theoretically rich while simultaneously offering concrete suggestions for practice and policy. Through eminently lucid and engaging prose, this book provides textured portraits of how multilingual writers draw upon their rich transnational cultural repertoires to navigate their social worlds. In doing so, it also prefigures a cosmopolitanism that is not naïve to issues of power and inequity during this period of resurgent xenophobia. A hopeful gem of a book.

Gerald Campano, University of Pennsylvania, USA

Amir Kalan is Assistant Professor in the Department of Integrated Studies in Education (DISE) at McGill University, Canada. He is the author of Who's Afraid of Multilingual Education? (Multilingual Matters, 2016). He is interested in critical literacy, multiliteracies, second language writing, intercultural rhetoric, multilingual text generation, and multimodal and digital writing.


1. Introduction

2. Conceptual and Empirical Background

3. Making Sense of Histories and Literate Legacies

4. Literacy and Writing Discourses

5. Writing as a Power Differential

6. Written Texts as Organic Outgrowth of Complex Linguistic and Cultural Repertoires

7. Social and Institutional Lived Experiences

8. Mechanics and Practicalities     

9. Implications, Recommendations, and Potential Further Directions


Postgraduate, Research / Professional
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