WP94 Trajectories of socialization in school transcontexts : Discourse journeys on gender and sexuality

Collection: Key words , ,


Socialization takes place not in bounded interactional episodes, but across communicative encounters. This aspect provides the general frame of the present paper which uses the concept of “trajectory of socialization” (Wortham 2005) to explore a connected series of educational events in a school in Rio de Janeiro where a group of Brazilian 5th graders and their History teacher engage in discussions about gender, sexuality and difference, related to the operationalization of a multiliteracies syllabus with strong queer overtones. The data, generated in a one-year ethnographic study in this urban school setting, follows the socialization journey of one student, Julio, as he gets introduced, along with his classmates, to new reflective practices concerning normativity patterns, social stereotypes and marginalized alterities. To scrutinize Julio’s intersubjective journey and the local-societal dialectics implicated in it, I interface the notions of trajectory of socialization, entextualization (Bauman and Briggs 2009/1990; Blommaert 2005; Silverstein and Urban 1996), and what I term transcontexts, i.e. interactional mobile environments comprising both perduring and shifting aspects. (Re)framing and (re)keying activities, together with repetition and topic recycling (Tannen 2006), as interrelated processes establishing a sense of coherence and continuity, constitute the analytical focus of the work which captures the group’s collective positionings and the boy’s shifting alignments towards more critical understandings of identity processes in general and gender and sexuality in particular. The logical articulation suggested is that the accurate observation of interpersonal actions in the classroom and discourse chains may throw light on how connectivity across events is established in discourse and identity practices, which, lying beyond emergent meaning-making processes, intersect with a larger sociohistorical scale.