The purpose of this book is to provide a description of an approach to the discourse analysis of classroom language and literacy events. The approach can be described as a social linguistic or social interactional approach. It combines attention to how people use language and other systems of communication in constructing language and literacy events in classrooms with attention to social, cultural, and political processes. For convenience, we label this approach a microethnographic approach.
The particular approach we take to discourse analysis builds on sociolinguistic ethnography (also known as the ethnography of communication (cf. Gumperz, 1986; Gumperz & Hymes, 1972; Hanks, 2000; Hymes, 1974); related discussions of language and culture, including humanistic linguistics (e.g., Becker, 1988), linguistic anthropology (e.g., Duranti, 1997; Duranti & Goodwin, 1992), anthropological studies of narrative and poetics (e.g., Bauman, 1986; Bauman & Briggs, 1990; Bauman & Sherzer, 1974; Hymes, 1996); the New Literacy Studies (cf. Barton & Hamilton, 1998; Barton, Hamilton, & Ivanic, 2000; Bloome, 1993; Gee, 1996, 2000; Heath, 1983; Street, 1995b, 1998); ethnomethodology (cf. Baker, 1993; Heap, 1980, 1985, 1988; Jefferson, 1978; MacBeth, 2003; Mehan, 1979; Sacks, Schegloff, & Jefferson, 1974); and those literary discussions of language that evolved from the work of Bakhtin (1935/1981, 1953/1986) and Volosinov (1929/1973) as well as those that evolved from the work of Benjamin (1969), Williams (1977), Dubois (1969), and de Certeau (1984, 1997). In addition, we build on the work of educational researchers who have been engaged in discourse analysis from similar perspectives and who have established their own histories. As Bloome (2003a), Green and Bloome (1998), and others have argued, educational researchers have created their own history of research on the use of language in classrooms that is distinct from but complements that in the disciplines of anthropology, linguistics, sociology, and social psychology. We