Discourse communities have a specific way of talking and communicating to each other. Within the Marching 110 (Ohio University Marching Band) they have many rules and ways to communicate. At practice they use a certain lexis so that everyone will understand what to do before the big performance on Saturdays. Discourse communities also set goals to show what the group is made of to advertise how they work together as a community. Anybody could have a discourse community just by having a common set of goals and a language that everyone understands. As we look into a certain discourse community, try to keep in mind what discourse communities show and how they are proud of each member.
The Marching 110 has a very strong identity as a discourse community, along with that a strong sense of identity, and togetherness that a discourse community needs to be efficient. This is best exemplified by the alignment that the marching 110 shares with Swales six characteristics of being a learning community.
1. A discourse community has a broadly agreed set of common public goals.
The goals of the Marching 110 are not very complicated; in fact they boil down to two simple things. First they are trying to entertain the audience of their choosing, whether it is playing at a sporting event, or in an auditorium, the Marching 110 is there for musical entertainment. Secondly, and this is more specific to sporting events, the support of the Ohio University sporting teams. The Ohio University creates large amounts of energy and morale through their music which translates to the teams and the fans themselves. This overall attitude of engagement Wardle references, as engagement is the reason the band exists, and with that engagement from the band, there is the sense of community building that Wardle references. (524)
2. A discourse community has mechanisms of intercommunication among its members.
The members of the Marching 110 have utilized the power of the internet and text messaging in order to receive and send information amongst the members of the band. With Facebook and Twitter, within a split second, the entire band can be notified of new events, changes in established events, changes in rules, and more.
3. A discourse community uses its participatory mechanisms primarily to provide information and feedback.
The Marching 110 does have a guide book as to the code of conduct that is expected of all members within the 110. Along with this, there are the advertisements that feature the events of the 110. This includes advertisements for football games, which can include the 110, as well as advertisements for 110 specific events, such as flyers, emails, etc.
4. A discourse community utilizes and hence possesses one or more genres in the communicative furtherance of its aims.
As stated in characteristic two, the marching 110 do use a various internet resources and feedback, as well as the addition of YouTube videos for the use of public. There are also multiple advertisements that the 110 uses to help provide information, and advertise themselves. There is the attendance of various sporting events, in and outside the campus, as well as the attendance of various high school competitions to help spread the word.
5. In addition to owning genres, a discourse community has acquired some specific lexis.
Within the 110, there are two different lexicons, one for the explanation of the band in a technical fashion, such as when to face a certain direction, and then there is the general lexicon, such as the encouragement of others, or various other phrases or words that have caught on. With these lexicons, the idea of
6. A Discourse community has a threshold level of members with a suitable degree of relevant content and discourse expertise.
There is an established hierarchy within the 110, which begins at the top with Dr. Suk, the director of 110, with the power descending as follows: TA’s, the dance choreographers, the field commander, section leaders, and the rest of the students themselves (471-473). In order to train the new incomers, they are assigned a “big”, who acts almost as a master to their apprentice, which Gee reinforces as being a necessity in order to understand a new discourse community (488).
As it has been illustrated, the 110 is most definitely a discourse community, complete with its own intercommunication systems, and a lexicon that is pervasive throughout the band.
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