Day 3: Genre

Does the structure of your grocery list shape your behavior, or does your behavior shape the structure of your grocery list?

Carolyn R. Miller and others have defined genres as typified communicative actions in recurring situations. In other words, recognizable types of texts emerge because the same need occurs over and over.

Miller, C. R. (1984). “Genre as social action.” Quarterly Journal of Speech (70), pp. 151-67

Charles Bazerman challenges us to see genres as more than forms of texts.

“Genres are not just forms. Genres are forms of life, ways of being. They are frames for social action [,…] locations within which meaning is constructed. Genres shape the thoughts we form and the communications by which we interact. Genres are the familiar places we go to create intelligible communicative action with each other and the guideposts we use to explore the unfamiliar.” (19)

Bazerman, Charles. Social Forms as Habitats for Action. Journal of The Interdisciplinary Crossroads. 16 (2), p. 123-142, (2003).


About Lindsay M. Ellis

Director of the Lake Michigan Writing Project and Writing Across the Curriculum at GVSU
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