Citations of Norms and Lines of Flight in One Immigrant Boy's Performances of Masculinities and Reading Identities

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In this ethnographic case study, the author examined one immigrant adolescent's performances of masculinities through reading practices. The author analyzed how Omar (pseudonym), a Muslim boy from Libya, used reading practices to produce himself as a boy in one U.S. multilingual classroom. Extending the anti-essentialist scholarship on gender and reading, the author brought together Butler's queer feminism and Deleuze and Guattari's philosophy of becoming to further trouble gender and analyze the instability of Omar's masculinity performances in relation to reading practice. Through analyses of field notes, classroom interactions, and artifacts, this study showed that Omar discursively performed and negotiated multiple and seemingly conflicting reading identities across time and space. Although he was discursively positioned as a nonreader in classroom interactions, he also performed disengagement with reading to display a cool, nonschoolish masculinity aligned to the normative discourses of Arab masculinity to which he was subject. However, he also enacted reader identity and behaviors not traditionally associated with masculinity. Omar's identity negotiation, interactionally and socially situated, demonstrated the instability of masculinity performances, featuring repeated citation of gender norms fissured with lines of flight breaking away from normative ways of being. This analysis contributes to the anti-essentialist research on boys and literacies by shedding light on the regulations and ruptures in masculinity performances of a gendered subject. The study highlights the importance of situating analysis of gender and reading practices within the social and power relations in the discursive and interactional space. Addressing space allows a close reading of how gender hegemonies operate and fracture in micro movements of identity performance and how space can be shaped to open up opportunities for becoming-other.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)363-382
Number of pages20
JournalReading Research Quarterly
Issue number3
StatePublished - Jul 1 2019


  • 4-Adolescence
  • Case Studies
  • Classroom Discourse
  • Critical Discourse Analysis
  • Discourse Analysis
  • Discourse Processes
  • Ethnographic
  • Ethnography
  • Feminist Theory / Theories
  • Genre Studies
  • Identity
  • Interactional Sociolinguistics
  • Interactional Sociolinguistics
  • Language learners
  • Post-structuralism
  • Struggling learners
  • Theoretical perspectives

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Education
  • Developmental and Educational Psychology


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