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On the Road: Examining Self-Representation and Discourses of Homelessness in Young Adult Texts


  • Theresa Rogers,

  • Elizabeth Marshall


In this article, the authors analyze representations of social issues within contemporary memoirs written for and marketed to a young adult audience and multimodal zines produced by homeless youth. To read across these distinctly different texts (mass marketed and do-it-yourself cultural productions) and genres (memoir and zines), the authors introduce “discourse tagging” as a strategy for tracing these self-representations of homelessness across discreet social locations and contexts. The authors demonstrate how this approach provides a way for teacher educators to engage students in a critical inquiry into the ways in which certain “truths” (i.e. homelessness is the direct result of an individual's choice or personal failing) are represented in texts and how those representations might be resisted or contested in other cultural contexts.