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This chapter maps an emergent strand of literacy research that foregrounds place and space as constitutive, rather than a backdrop for the real action. The foregrounding of space and place is steadily increasing in literacy research, as evidenced by the naming of spatial terms in titles and abstracts in literacy research city, urban, rural, river, ghetto, street, environment, and sites. This chapter discusses selected research in literacy studies, which in various ways addresses these themes. It begins by discussing studies that foreground the politics of place and literacy in classrooms and introduce the concept of place-conscious pedagogy through illustrative examples. It then explores place and digital spaces in globalized communication networks.


Institute for Learning Sciences and Teacher Education

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Open Access Book Chapter

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Open Access


This is the peer reviewed version of the following chapter: Mills, Kathy A. & Comber, Barbara (2013) Space, place and power: the spatial turn in literacy research. In Hall, Kathy, Cremin, Teresa, Comber, Barbara, & Moll, Luis (Eds.) International Handbook of Research in Children’s Literacy, Learning and Culture (pp. 412-423) Wiley-Blackwell Publishing Inc., London, which has been published in final form at 10.1002/9781118323342.ch30. This article may be used for non-commercial purposes in accordance with Wiley Terms and Conditions for Self-Archiving.