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In this landmark volume leading language and literacy scholars clearly articulate and explicate major social perspectives and approaches in the field. Each approach draws on distinct bodies of literature and traditions and uses distinct identifiers, labels, and constellations of concepts; each has been take up by communities of practice globally and is used as rationale and guide for the design of educational policies and practices across a variety of contexts. The authors discuss the genesis and historical trajectory of the approach with which they are associated; offer their perspective, rationale, and engagement; and investigate implications for educational policies and practices. The premise of the book is that understanding concepts, perspectives and approaches requires knowing the context in which they were created, the rationale or purpose in creating them, and how they have been taken up and applied in communities of practice. In some cases the chapter author is the creator of the perspective and in others a person who is strongly identified with the approach. Accessible yet theoretically rich, this volume is indispensible for researchers, students, and professionals across the field of language and literacy studies who want to know what theories to use, how to develop theoretical frameworks that have explanatory power, what the difference is between various theoretical constructs, and how they might inform research design and educational initiatives.