Discourse Community Ethnography

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Discourse community ethnography


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Discourse community

Discourse community is another type of a community, when approached from the point of view of linguistics. Swales (1990:24-25) gives six criteria for a group to be a discourse community. First, it should have common public goals. They can be academic or everyday goals, such as growing better roses in your garden. Second, the group has to have mechanisms of intercommunication: for example, magazines of a community or emaillists. Third, Swales claims that membership is used mainly for providing information and feedback. Fourth, a discourse community has to have one or more genres.

A genre is "a set of communicative events, the members of which share some set of communicative purposes" (Swales 1990:58). The fifth criterion for a group to be a discourse community is that it should have some group-specific lexis, for example, acronyms. Outsiders have difficulty in understanding this lexis but group members think of them as normal. The sixth criterion is that a discourse community should have a threshold level of members who have context and discourse expertise. In short, members of a discourse community are oriented towards reaching goals that are public and known by everyone in the group. A discourse community has to have members with context and linguistic behavioural knowledge, who are familiar with the genres and the group-specific lexis of the community, and are able to use them in order to provide information and feedback to the other members through the mechanisms of intercommunication the group uses.

Ethnography as narrative discourse

Quality of life is recognized as a critical variable in community integration of people with developmental disabilities. A major concern expressed in the literature is to establish a measure of congruence between the perception and experiences of these people and their social environment. In response to this concern, this study presents a framework of analysis based on ethnography as narrative of ...
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