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Discourse Community Analysis


ENC 1101

I don't want to be a part of any club that would accept me as a member. Groucho Marx

For this assignment, youre going to study then write about a discourse community. Then you will write an analysis of that discourse community. You may formulate your own research question, or you might answer this one: What are the goals and characteristics of this discourse community? How successful is the discourse community at achieving these goals? In other words, for this assignment you will need to find a discourse community and go about studying it: making observations, collecting data, analyzing that information, then writing about it. To collect evidence for this assignment, you will
Spend 45 hours observing and collecting evidence in the location you have selected (this will be submitted when you turn in your revised paper). You will also need to interview at least one member of the discourse community (record, then transcribe this interview; this will also be submitted) Collect two or more documents that are used for the discourse communitys goals. Identify and collect examples of the communitys lexis. Consider the rules for membership. How easy is it to join this discourse community? Is there an official process? Are outsiders welcome? How does that relate to the discourse communitys goals? This project requires you to visit, more than once, a place or group of people that are new to you. Projects that have been relatively unsuccessful in the past include bars, kids' pizza places (like Chuck E Cheese's) and other locations where a lot of different people might gather that dont have that much in common. Since a lot of people gather in these places, there aren't many rules that are different from everyday life. Some

successful projects have included a discussion of a conference of Deaf people; discussions public transit systems, and a particular community of Disney cast members. Remember that a discourse community is not necessarily a physical place, like Swales Hong Kong Study Circle (or 4chan). We will brainstorm ideas for this project in class, and talk about their potential challenges. Remember that a successful essay cannot simply be a list of rules, or a series of observations. You will need to use your powers of analysis and audience awareness to create a piece of writing that makes people think about this discourse community, what it does, and why that matters.

Here is what I am looking for in this assignment:

Collection of the required pieces of evidence (interview, documents, field notes) that will together make the argument that this is, indeed, a discourse community. You might use Swales, Gee, Johns, or even Mirabelli either to describe the conversation already happening about discourse communities, or to comment on the one you have studied. Ask, then answer, questions. Who has authority here, and why? Are there conflicts within this discourse community? what are they? What is the lexis and what does it say about the community? Purposeful Reasoning and organizational structure. Another way to think of this is to ask yourself how you can best tell the story of this discourse community. Sophisticated use of support and evidence (your own research explained and put in a context/use of one or more of our readings). Presentation of your own perspective and position in relation to the discourse community you are examining. Presentation of others' perspective(s) and position(s) in relation to the discourse community you are examining (how do you see this place? How might someone else?) Discussion of conclusions, implications, and consequences of the situation you have observed.

Formatting Your paper should adhere to the MLA formatting standards unless you present to me a well-reasoned argument for presenting your paper in another fashion perhaps, in this case, formatting would tell the reader something about the discourse community). I will show examples in class of nontraditional formatting for this particular assignment. Due Date Four copies of your workshop draft are due at the beginning of class on the following date: November 16, 2012