The New Literacy Studies
and the Social Turn
Well, Hello Gee
Click here to read Gee‟s profile
Gee is known for his work in
linguistics and phycology, and their
connection with education and society.
Most recently, Gee has lectured and
written on the educational models used
by video games.
In Gee‟s own words: Why we
need to talk about the ways
is there any need to talk about
„critical literacy‟, rather than just „literacy‟
itself? The reason is this: The forms of
literacy learned in school usually do not
lead to the urge or ability to think
„critically‟ in the sense of understanding
how systems and institutions inter-relate to
help and harm people. Therefore, it is
worth thinking about what would
constitute a „critical literacy‟.”
A Critical Literacy
A few Questions to Consider:
Do we give students language and
opportunities to examine their own
schooling? Can they ask the core question
of this class “To what end, Education?”
Or- are students encouraged to stay blind to
the processes that shape them into who
New vs. Old Capitalism
says that “The old capitalism was
interested in the most efficient
organization of individuals as individuals”
Meanwhile, “Workers in the new
capitalism are meant to continuously gain
and apply new knowledge by
understanding the whole work process in
which they are involved.” (p. 5)
Ideo Shopping Cart
Take a look at this article. Especially the following quote:
“Capitalism is not solely a market phenomenon; it exists within
a social context. Capitalism is a social movement. Social
networks are the basic building blocks of the economy.
Markets will continue to play a critical role in Indie Capitalism,
but the blurring of distinction between creators, curators,
funders, and consumers will make it less transactional.”
Now, watch this video.
does Ideo‟s work on the shopping
cart exhibit Gee‟s observations about the
qualities of the New Capitalism are
highlighted in the Wired article?
Economy and Schools
Must work in teams and share
ideas in order to compete in a
Watch this video to see why.
Workers kept separate to
maintain control over them.
Economy and Schools
The Three Paradoxes
Gee identifies 3 paradoxes in the New
Why don‟t NC workers
-Use their knowledge to critique the
-Walk off and sell their knowledge to
the highest bidder?
And how will knowledge be translated to future
generations when in changes so fast?
The Solution! Communities of
In communities of practice, knowledge is
distributed across multiple people,
newcomers are apprenticed, and the entire
community is trained in the accepted norms
and values of the group.
In what ways does a modern classroom take
part in each of these things?
Norms and Values
Understanding the Whole
“Newcomers („apprentices‟) are trained by being
scaffolded in „joint practice‟ with those already
adapt at the practice…everyone.. Gains
knowledge through immersion in the collaborative
practice.” (p. 5)
Look at the video on KIPP schools. How has this
school taken part in the New Capitalism‟s practice
of communicating values, norms, and culture to its
staff and students?
Niche work in Education
In the New Capitalism, workers
are competing for highlyspecialized niche markets. In
NYC, schools often are
centered around specific
learning goals. Is this the same
thing? What might we lose if
we specialize too much? What
will we gain from specializing
New Capitalism: The Haves
and the Have-nots
What‟s wrong with the New Capitalism?
“The new capitalism … leads to good, if risky,
rewards for those who have sophisticated
sociotechnical knowledge to sell…. Large
numbers of less fortunate souls must be
Is this true in our schools? Are the smart
getting smarter and the disadvantaged
getting further behind? Read this
Literacy: Why some kids can
read …until they can‟t
Gee‟s talk here.
can our schools equip students with
the kind of language and technological
tools they need to succeed?
Video games and learning
really have two school systems”
Gee talks here about the growing divide
between our schools and other forms of
learning. He points out that video games
don‟t need to give a test at the end to
know you have mastered the content.
What would it look like?
a school were more like a video game,
how would it assess learning? What might
“embodied learning” in this type of school
(2009). Abc nightline. (2009). . Retrieved from
Gee, J. P. (2008). Special report by james paul gee. . Retrieved from
James Gee. (1999). The new literacy studies and the social turn. Retrieved
Gee, J. P. (2001). Critical literacy as critical discourse analysis. Retrieved from
Gee, J. (Performer). (2011). James paul gee. [Web Video]. Retrieved from
Gee, J. (2011, May 2). Why the black-white gap was closing when it was Huff
Post, Retrieved from http://www.huffingtonpost.com/james-gee/why-theblackwhite-gap-wa_b_855591.html
James Gee. (2011, May 05). james gee james gee mary lou fulton presidential
professor of literacy studies at arizona state university get updates from james
gee digital natives, digital brains? Huff Post, Retrieved from
Johnson, S. (2010, September 17). youtube. . Retrieved from
Nussbaum, B. (2013, March 05). How „indie‟ capitalism will replace our
stagnant economic system. Wired, Retrieved from
The story of kipp. (n.d.). Retrieved from http://www.kipp.org/about/