Blog 8: Discourse Communities

As you will read, discourse communities are groups of people who share common artifacts, tools, and rules for communicating with each other.  For example, if you were in band in high school, you had a special discourse (specialty words, often called lexis, knowledge, and access to media and genres) for communicating with others in your community.  We inhabit a number of discourse communities, a result of our interests, professions, ideologies, and circumstances.

In this assignment, you will select one discourse community that you belong to and “map” it for somebody who wants to enter that community.  Your audience, then, is one unfamiliar to your discourse community that you are mapping.

To better understand what a map of your discourse community might look like, consider the following questions:

  • What are activities that are primarily associated with that community?
  • What are the contexts of discourse or communication of those activities?
  • What are the most common genres of that community?
  • What are some rhetorical or argumentative features of the discourse of that community?
  • How does one improve or become better in the discourse of that community?  Is there training or how does one seek advice?

The discourse community you select is up to you, but should be determined by you having at least some expertise in the community already and the audience you are writing for. For example, if you have been volunteering at an animal shelter for the last year, that is probably enough expertise to map the discourse community for somebody who has never volunteered at a shelter before, but not enough expertise to map an extensive study for volunteering in all shelters (just to be clear, I’m not expecting the latter–save that for WRIT 1133). The discourse community can be anything in which communication plays an important role and an audience would learn something by reading your map.  So, a job at Hollister, Hunger Games fan fiction, League of Legends, Bronies, Dungeons & Dragons, Disney collector, whatever.

This should primarily be a textual argument.  Although it can be thesis-driven, consider it more as a specification sheet or even a “textbook” or encyclopedia entry of your discourse community; it should have complete sentences and paragraphs, but you can use bulleted lists and visuals as well.  I will grade these posts on how detailed and audience appropriate the map is, specifically looking at how examples or evidence is used to support your claims about the community of practice.

LENGTH

  • The blog post should be over 250 words, but the organization and your approach for the audience is entirely up to you.  There is no upper limit on the number of words in this post, but I recognize that this should take you 5-6 hours, so I’m not expecting something that takes me the length of Transformers: Age of Extinction to read.

DUE

  • Blog post, Wednesday by midnight

LEARNING OBJECTIVES

  • Demonstrate practical knowledge of the concept “rhetorical situation,” through the abilities both to analyze and to write effectively in different kinds of situations.
  • Demonstrate the ability to produce writing that effectively provides evidence and reasoning for assertions, for audiences of educated readers.
  • Demonstrate the ability to incorporate and attribute or document source material in rhetorically effective ways.
  • Demonstrate the ability to edit and proofread their writing.