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ERIC Number: EJ1061590
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2015
Pages: 3
Abstractor: ERIC
Reference Count: 10
ISSN: ISSN-1522-7502
Genre as Social Action: A Gaze into Phenomenology
Russell, David R.
Composition Forum, v31 Spr 2015
This article explores David Russell's long-time fascination with Genre as Social Action and Charles Bazerman's idea of genre systems (1994), based on Miller's 1984 article. He explains that the great insight Miller had, in that article, was to bring Schutz's concept of typification, and with it the western European tradition of phenomenological sociology, to North American rhetoric and (professional) communication and composition. Schutz took from the German anti-positivist sociologist Max Weber the concept of Ideal Types, which was for Weber a methodological tool to help sociologists identify the patterns of activity that people in some society recognize. But Schutz developed it into a phenomenological concept, typification, which he argued all people engage in all the time (not just sociologists doing research). That's a big idea according to Russell. It connects the psychological with the sociological, and it connects both with human communication as activity, writing as doing in the world. However, he wanted a theoretical framework to connect genre with human development--education and schooling. He turned to activity theory (AT), which uses Lev Vygotsky's Marxist psychology to analyze tool-mediated social activity. In this brief article, he describes how he was able to think about how genres and peoples' socio-cognitive development are connected in terms of writing. He goes on to outline some key concepts from both Vygotsky and Schutz to demonstrate how they share many deep assumptions relevant to schooling.
Association of Teachers of Advanced Composition. e-mail:; Web site:
Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Evaluative
Education Level: N/A
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A