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Journal #4 Summary:

Bawarshi, Anis, Devitt, Amy J., and Reiff, Mary Jo, Materiality and Genre in the Study of Discourse Communities. Materiality, Genre, and Language Use (May, 2003), pp. 541-558. Print.

Larissa Macko ENC 1102 Analysis: The actual text used by Devitt with the jury instructions is the perfect example of understanding the genres function in a community. The instructions influence the experience of outside members just by its creation by members within the community. It is an operational site for nonmembers by telling them certain things they should do. Even though not everything a member would know is given, the jury instructions help direct and guide those non-members. The genre analysis then becomes important because it explains how and why the genre is important. We are also able to recognize that our (non-member) understanding of one aspect within a community isnt as great as those who are a member. The material strength and power of a community is also revealed through genre analysis. It calls for studying the sort/kinds of things rather than those things themselves. Miller says its purpose is based on the rhetorical way of acting in a recurring situation. So the form stays just the context changes. Just as the medical intake form can be passed out to different people, it has all the same characteristics but different context for each because of the different non-members included. The interactions are always shifting but are caused by genres. Bazerman believes genre is social action but I believe its what causes it. Genres are said to frame, thus creating social actions within that framing. Thats where Devitts genre sets develop. And if it werent for those genres being there, there wouldnt be a link, just as a prescription for a patient forces social interaction with a doctor, nurse, and/or pharmacist, just the same as doctors would have to also. Bawarshi states that teachers, students, and researchers, gain ethnomethodological access through analyzing genres, which I agree with. Any one with a basic literacy can recognize that a medical intake form is used to help diagnose or treat a patient and thats why they fill them out. Without literacy most likely one could not recognize, for example, someone who is illiterate would not be able to identify how and why they fill out a form but if explained, able to understand. This also pushes for why it is so important, it gives us an understanding amongst all communities.

This article was about the importance of genre analysis. The materiality and genre used to study discourse communities is shown through these three essays. Each shows how genre contributes to the use of ethnomethodology as a tool to learn more about a certain discourse community and how that text plays a role in the group experience. Mostly used for the general public, genres allow community members to help define or explain the groups purpose and goals are to outside members. Therefore, becoming the operational site used by members to interact with the outside communities. By defining how and why language use in specific settings make some practices possible, these genres simply help assist with connecting different communities to each other.