ERIC Number: EJ824069
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2009
Abstractor: As Provided
Reference Count: 123
Damsels in Discourse: Girls Consuming and Producing Identity Texts through Disney Princess Play
Wohlwend, Karen E.
Reading Research Quarterly, v44 n1 p57-83 Jan-Mar 2009
Drawing upon theories that reconceptualize toys and artifacts as identity texts, this study employs mediated discourse analysis to examine children's videotaped writing and play interactions with princess dolls and stories in one kindergarten classroom. The study reported here is part of a three-year ethnographic study of literacy play in U.S. early childhood classrooms. The specific focus here is on young girls who are avid Disney Princess fans and how they address the gendered identities and discourses attached to the popular films and franchised toys. The study employs an activity model design that incorporates ethnographic microanalysis of social practices in the classroom, design conventions in toys and drawings, negotiated meanings in play, and identities situated in discourses. The commercially given gendered princess identities of the dolls, consumer expectations about the dolls, the author identities in books and storyboards associated with the dolls, and expectations related to writing production influenced how the girls upheld, challenged, or transformed the meanings they negotiated for princess story lines and their gender expectations, which influenced who participated in play scenarios and who assumed leadership roles in peer and classroom cultures. When the girls played with Disney Princess dolls during writing workshop, they animated identities sedimented into toys and texts. Regular opportunities to play with toys during writing workshop allowed children to improvise and revise character actions, layering new story meanings and identities onto old. Dolls and storyboards facilitated chains of animating and authoring, linking meanings from one event to the next as they played, wrote, replayed, and rewrote. The notion of productive consumption explains how girls enthusiastically took up familiar media narratives, encountered social limitations in princess identities, improvised character actions, and revised story lines to produce counternarratives of their own. (Contains 3 tables and 6 figures.
Descriptors: Discourse Analysis, Females, Children, Play, Ethnography, Toys, Popular Culture, Mass Media Effects, Kindergarten, Identification (Psychology), Consumer Economics, Scripts, Writing Workshops, Leadership, Role, Semiotics, Classroom Observation Techniques, Sex Role
International Reading Association. 800 Barksdale Road, P.O. Box 8139, Newark, DE 19714-8139. Tel: 800-336-7323; Fax: 302-731-1057; e-mail: email@example.com; Web site: http://www.reading.org/publications/index.html
Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Research
Education Level: Early Childhood Education; Kindergarten
Authoring Institution: N/A