Literacy studies, workplace literacies, new literacy studies
Home renovation workers have historically belonged to the blue-collar workforce. Their jobs are often stereotyped as less cognitively complex than those belonging to their white-collar counterparts. While prior research has revealed the cognitive complexity of such work, there is still a gap in research investigating the literacy practices of “blue-collar” workplaces. Through the lenses of New Literacy Studies and activity theory, this case study examines the texts used in a room remodel, the literacy practices surrounding the texts, and the sociocultural implications of these practices. Through document-based and retrospective interviews, the primary participant is given a voice in identifying and describing the practices and values associated with the texts in his workplace. Literacies identified during interviews are examined in context through observations. The findings indicate the importance of texts not just for facilitating the renovation work, but for developing the social relationships necessary for working together. Influenced by the work of Brandt and Clinton, this study looks beyond the limits of the local to examine how the literacy practices of home renovation workers shape and are shaped by globalizing forces. By situating home renovation work within the larger network of the Information Age, this study questions the extent to which new workplace literacies are blurring the line between knowledge work and manual labor.
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Master of Arts (M.A.)
College of Arts and Humanities
Writing and Rhetoric
English; Rhetoric and Composition
Length of Campus-only Access
Masters Thesis (Open Access)
Gaskill, Jennifer, "The Writing on the Wall: Examining the Literacy Practices of Home Renovation Work" (2015). Electronic Theses and Dissertations. 75.