Discourse and Literacy notes

“What is  important is  not language,  and surely  not grammar,  but
saying(writing)­-doing-­being-­valuing-­believing  combinations.  These
combinations I will refer to as Discourses, with a capital “D,” a notion I
want now to explicate (Gee 1992,  2005). Before I do that, let me point
out that I  will use  “discourse”  with a  little  “d” for  language in  use or
connected stretches  o f  language  that make  sense,  like  conversations,
stories, reports,  arguments, essays,  and so forth. So,  “discourse” is  part
o f  “Discourse”—­”Discourse” with a  big “D” is  always more  than just
language”(Gee, 154).

In other words, discourse and Discourse are two different things. Or rather, one is more of a sub category of another. “d”iscourse is purely the language aspect of Discourse. It is the methodology of how they communicate with each other. This can be conversations, telling stories, writing, any kind of newsletter. “D”iscourse is the much broader term. It encompasses what they do, how they act, their values, and their beliefs. Discourses and communities of practice can sometimes be similar enough that the border between them blurs. Many of the features under a Discourse are also within a CoP. CoPs have a few features that are not always shared with Discourses. Often a member of a CoP is unaware that they are even a member, where as this is unlikely for a member of a Discourse system. CoPs are also always striving for the goal of learning more about their practice and not simply the act of doing it. A community of practice that comes to mind is our English class. None of us really know each other, I can probably name 2-3 of you at max. We are all there for a common interest, taking and passing the class. We have not really reached the phase where everyone is talking to each other yet but it is approaching. All the while we are learning together about discourses, Discourses, and communities of practice.




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