This article explores theoretical and methodological issues in literacy studies emerging from an investigation of how children and adults make meanings when virtual worlds are embedded in classroom contexts. Drawing on the work of Law and Mol and Kwa's exploration of ‘baroque complexity’, it highlights the importance of recognising and interrogating multiplicity in examining interactions through and around texts. The implications of this, we suggest, go beyond research into literacies in digital environments to raise questions about how we theorise and research literacies more generally. In particular, this leads us to re-examine the use of the literacy event as a unit of analysis. We argue that these issues are particularly important at a time when diverse and multiple literacies collide with educational policies that reduce literacies to ‘the basics’ and to simple models that prescribe what is learned.
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