Genre Knowledge in Disciplinary Communication: Cognition, Culture, Power

Genre Knowledge in Disciplinary Communication: Cognition, Culture, Power

Genre Knowledge in Disciplinary Communication: Cognition, Culture, Power

Genre Knowledge in Disciplinary Communication: Cognition, Culture, Power

Synopsis

"Based on 10 years of research in contexts as diverse as a doctoral program in rhetoric and composition and a scientist's peer review correspondence, this book develops a dynamic, activity-based theory of genre. Disciplinary genres, the authors propose, are constituted by evolving, communal, historically sedimented practices of "insiders" responsive to the dynamics of (re)current rhetorical situations. To support their unique perspective, Berkenkotter and Huckin draw on empirical findings from both micro- and macrolevel investigations including case studies of individual writers in action and large-corpus analyses of evolving genre features. The research methods and the theoretical framework presented should raise provocative questions for scholars, researchers, and teachers in rhetorical studies, communication, sociology, applied linguistics, education, and other fields interested in disciplinary communication." Title Summary field provided by Blackwell North America, Inc. All Rights Reserved

Excerpt

A writer's development of genre knowledge has not only a sociocultural dimension, but a systemic dimension as well. Language users are situated artful actors whose acts of communication occur within semiotic systems. In the course of our studies of disciplinary communication conducted since the mid 1980s, we have perceived the operations of systems as diverse as peer review in scientific publication and language in a fast-grade science classroom.

We use the term genre knowledge to refer to an individual's repertoire of situationally appropriate responses to recurrent situations--from immediate encounters to distanced communication through the medium of print, and more recently, the electronic media. One way to study the textual character of disciplinary communication is to examine both the situated actions of writers, and the communicative systems in which disciplinary actors participate. It is these two perspectives that we present in this book.

A word about our methodology is relevant here. We have used a variety of research techniques in these studies, which, given the differences in our training, has proven to he a genuine asset over the years we have worked together. These techniques include case study and ethnographic techniques, and rhetorical and discourse analyses of changing features in large corpuses and in the texts of individual writers. Our use of these techniques has enabled us to engage in both microlevel and macrolevel analyses and to develop a perspective that reflects both foci. From this perspective we propose that what microlevel studies of actors' situated actions frequently depict as individual processes, can also be interpreted (from the macrolevel) as communicative acts within a discursive network or system. Genre is the concept that enables us to envision the inter-

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