chapter  8
Key areas and texts
Pages 22

The field of literacy studies is concerned with the use of writing as situated social practice, as discussed in Chapter 2. Work in the New Literacy Studies (NLS) has shown that writing is a complex human activity, always located in particular times and places and indicative of wider social forces and relationships. This perspective therefore draws on many of the same sources as contemporary writing research, such as critical theory and social constructionism, shares a similar interest in detailing the social practices that surround writing, and employs similar ethnographic approaches to research. However, contemporary literacy theory also complements writing research in applied linguistics and language teaching. The study of everyday practices has expanded both our understanding of literacy, by making connections between research data of literacy-in-use and social theory, and our understanding

of writing, by showing how it is positioned in relation to social institutions and dominant ideologies.