Constructions of (literary) writing in textbooks. The differences between writing in 1989 and writing in 2011.
The aim of my thesis, Writing and becoming (2019) was to analyze how literary writing and writing subjects where constructed in handbooks and textbooks for writing, published in Sweden between 1979–2015. This presentation of the doctoral thesis is focused upon the analysis of the four different editions of a textbook for upper secondary school (Svenska timmar - språket) published between the years 1989 and 2011.
Using Roz Ivanič’s framework from “Discourses of Writing and Learning to Write” (2004) the presentation addresses constants and changes in the constructions of writing and writing subject, by analysing the textbook’s description of writing as either work or play, as well as the purpose of writing. Ivanič’s framework defines six different discourses, but since the textbooks partly construct writing in ways that do not fit into the existing framework, two more discourses - the support discourse and the market discourse - are added to the framework.
The presentation of the text analysis starts by showing that three of the four editions of the textbook – published 1989, 1995 and 2001 – are almost identical. Even if the curriculum has changed, and even if the first edition is directed mostly towards vocational programs, the content stays the same. After this is concluded, the rest of the analysis consist of a comparison between the first and the latest edition, from 2011, The results show that while literary writing, or writing as storytelling, is a central part of the textbook in 1989, it has almost disappeared in 2011 year’s edition. The changing focus of the content also have consequences for the constructions of the writing subjects. In 1989 the writer is someone who likes to write and to be creative and play with words, in 2011 the writer needs the ability to work hard and is aiming for being good at writing or being accurate. Ivanič’s creativity discourse and process discourse are strongly present in the first edition. The edition from 2011 rather expresses a skill or genre or t market discourse.
Ivanič, Roz, ”Discourses of Writing and Learning to Write”, Language and Education, vol 18, nr. 3, 2004.
Waje, Lennart & Skoglund, Svante, Svenska timmar – språket, Malmö: Gleerups, 1989, 1995,
2001 & 2011.
Keywords: literary writing, discourses of writing, subject positions