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ERIC Number: ED357345
Record Type: Non-Journal
Publication Date: 1993-Apr
Pages: 10
Abstractor: N/A
Reference Count: N/A
"Prophesying after the Event": The Archeology and Ecology of Genre.
Coe, Richard M.
"Genre" has become the keyword in a movement to create a more dynamic, dialectical, contextual conception of "dispositio," of structure as a factor in psychological and social processes of writing. A dynamic conception of genre as social process in symbolic action can be reached by combining Kenneth Burke's technique of "prophesying after the event" with a key principle from Michel Foucault's "archeology" and Marilyn Cooper's metaphor of composition as an "ecological" process. The structures writing teachers observe empirically in texts are artifacts; and writing teachers should treat the texts as archeologists treat the artifacts they dig up--try to infer functions, to resurrect the strategies implicit in the structures and relate them to context. The second metaphor is ecological, emphasizing that genres exist in contexts and need to be explained as somehow fitting those contexts, for genres evolved as people adapted to communicative concepts. How to teach genre depends on the contexts of situations, and most especially on the students, on what they already know, on how the situations are experienced. Sometimes writing teachers should create situations in which students can reinvent the wheel of a genre. With some students, it may suffice to have them analyze and explain rather than reinvent a genre. More than particular types of writing, the most important lesson for student writers is to learn to notice genres, to make sense of genres, even to renovate genres. (Contains 25 references.) (RS)
Publication Type: Speeches/Meeting Papers; Opinion Papers; Guides - Classroom - Teacher
Education Level: N/A
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A