Writing / Disciplinarity: A Sociohistoric Account of Literate Activity in the Academy

Writing / Disciplinarity: A Sociohistoric Account of Literate Activity in the Academy

Writing / Disciplinarity: A Sociohistoric Account of Literate Activity in the Academy

Writing / Disciplinarity: A Sociohistoric Account of Literate Activity in the Academy

Synopsis

This volume explores writing through case studies of student work and discussion. Consideration of specific theories as well as research methodologies is included throughout. This material is of interest to scholars and researchers in writing and literac

Excerpt

Charles Bazerman University of California, Santa Barbara

Writing is a constant struggle, as we project a text by considering multiple resources, memories, and experiences; conversations with colleagues and mentors; perceived restrictions imposed by genre, audience, and occasion; our attitudes and desires; and a thousand other considerations that bear on the moment of articulating our thought. Some of these forces consciously weigh, whereas others appear without our reflecting. Some we manage to harmonize and coordinate with each other, whereas others are just there, almost by happenstance within proximity of the others. in the end, if we are lucky and persistent, we have something neatened up enough to put into an envelope and give the appearance of a completed product. When I was in college more than a few years ago, a friend of mine (whose name I no longer remember) wrote a poem on the elegant symmetry of a paper clip, ending with the line, "our words do not deserve such grace."

Paul Prior perceives the apparent coherence of a completed text as the result of a mangle of practice and the lamination of experience -- terms borrowed from Andrew Pickering and Erving Goffman. Prior, through his ethnography, reveals the complexity of experience of writing we always struggle with, as we try to press too much together with the hope that somehow the cloth will hold. This represents the first half of his compound title Writing/Disciplinarity.

However, in the writing is also the creation of Disciplinarity, the second half of Prior's language. As these graduate students write, they socialize themselves into a discipline. They inscribe themselves and are inscribed as disciplined scholars and, in interaction with their professors and peers, they influence the disciplinarity of each other. At sufficient distance, disciplines . . .

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