Communities within our Writing?

Joseph Harris’ article made me look back on the writing I have done in grade school and made me realize that we are involved in different writing communities throughout our whole life. It also intrigued me to learn from this article that sometimes we think of community “as an existing set of relationships” when maybe it’s something more than that. A community can also extend to writing. In a class, we are told to write about a specific topic and it is expected out of all our classmates. I never really thought about how we don’t just write as an “isolated individual” but as a community.

Harris makes the reference to a “working-class” and how he always affiliated himself with it. Likewise, I could say that I have always considered myself to be part of the choir community since I was in middle school and coming here it has been very fun but very different. Especially because in high school we all knew each other versus here barely anybody knows each other but end the end we work as a community to achieve a goal. So I realize that now I am part of the universities choir community because we share “values and interests..but to some degree would always feel separate from.” This also correlates to what Swales described a discourse community as having a set of goals within the community.

Not only am I part of the choir community but also of the university community, and like Barthes explains we often find yourself involved with communities that are “always simultaneously a part of several discourses.”

Bartholomae’s view on communities is more about “reinventing” and we as students have “to learn to speak this language, to speak as we do.” I agree with his opinion because as students we can’t just choose to write in a certain way because we want to. We all know that ultimately if that is not what the teacher wants then our grade will be at stake. So yeah in a way we have to learn to speak the professors “language” to fit in with what they are looking for. I believe this hinders us because like we wrote on a previous blog, it’s hurting our writing ability and creativity. Barthes explains that we tend to not only be in one community but that we often find ourselves involved with different ones.

Swales describes a discourse community as having six distinct characteristics but ultimately says that these communities have a similar goal. However, I find that this article proposes communities also being something that members do together but can find individualistic aspects within the community. And Swales doesn’t really show much importance of this aspect. I think it is important to be within a community but be able to stand out. This individuality we have is created by the many communities we have been part of throughout our life.


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