A Picturebook as a Cultural Artifact: The Influence of Embedded Ideologies

Hee Young Kim, Kathy G. Short

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter

1 Scopus citations


Multicultural and global literature is viewed as one means to encourage children to engage with issues of diversity and social justice. These efforts can instead affirm prejudice and the status quo if a book is embedded in a dominant discourse and ideology. This critical content analysis interrogates the ideological aspects of Smoky Night (Bunting, 1994), by first examining the historical background of the Los Angeles Riots, including shifts in the socioeconomic structure of urban areas in LA that led to marginalization and conflict between African Americans and Korean Americans. Participants from the different social groups involved in this conflict each generated their own discourses, so these discourses are identified as part of the sociohistorical context of the book. The identified mainstream discourses include the depoliticization of the conflict, the mythology of the model minority, and white supremacy and victimization. The theoretical lens of critical discourse analysis is used to examine both verbal text and visual images in the book to look at how these dominant discourses and ideologies are represented through the analytical tools of positioning, graduation, color choice, and illustration style. The book disengages readers from an interrogation of the sociocultural structure of society and from engaging with characters and events of the story through racialized practice and ideology.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Title of host publicationCritical Content Analysis of Visual Images in Books for Young People
Subtitle of host publicationReading Images
PublisherTaylor and Francis
Number of pages20
ISBN (Electronic)9780429761058
ISBN (Print)9781138387065
StatePublished - Jan 1 2019

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Social Sciences
  • General Arts and Humanities


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