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ERIC Number: EJ855026
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2005
Pages: 18
Abstractor: As Provided
Reference Count: 42
ISSN: ISSN-0155-0640
"Tell Me the Goss Ok": Urban Indigenous Girls (Re)Constructing Norms, Values and Identities through Email at School
Grote, Ellen
Australian Review of Applied Linguistics, v28 n1 p1-18 2005
Gossip has mainly been investigated as an oral discourse practice, one that serves as a mechanism to reaffirm relationships and to construct, monitor and maintain social norms and values within communities. This study investigates how a group of Aboriginal English speaking teenage girls constructed norms, values and identities in their email gossip. Adopting a "communities of practice" perspective and a social constructionist understanding of identity, the study draws on ethnographic data collected on the writing practices of a group of Indigenous girls in a high school program for educationally "at risk" students. The findings indicate that the girls used email gossip to do friendship while constructing multifaceted identities and negotiating social norms and values relating to four themes: 1) the social practices of girls in friendship circles; 2) the physical attributes, characters and social practices of boys; 3) the relationships between girls and boys; and 4) risk-taking practices. By creating spaces in the curriculum for email writing (and gossip), teachers can make school a more personally meaningful place for "disaffected" students. It can also enhance students' writing, computer and analytical skills and raise their language awareness with respect to constructing identities needed to participate in the workplace and wider community. (Contains 1 figure and 2 notes.)
Applied Linguistics Association of Australia. Available from: Monash University ePress. Building 4, Monash University, Wellington Road, Clayton 3800, Victoria, Australia. Fax: +61-3-9905 8450; e-mail:; Web site:
Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Research
Education Level: High Schools
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A