Throughout the readings for today, I found myself reflecting on my own academic career thus far and the various discourse communities I have endeavored to enter and write for. What struck me most, are two discussions that, to me, seem invaluable. Those are the discussions of building new discourse communities and how international discourse communities may change the theories we have read for today. I would like to tackle these in reverse order.
It is true that Johns mentions (really, glosses over) some international communities of practice in relation to professional communities (pg. 503). Further, on pg. 512 she highlights how international students of American classrooms with examples of a student of Mexican descent and a grad student who came to America from Japan. These examples are used primarily because Johns is talking about communities of practice surrounding English (literacy) classrooms in America. However, these examples are a bit different than what I’m talking about. I’m talking about discourse communities outside of (or tangential to) English classrooms, discourse communities that by their very nature attract members from many different countries and various cultural backgrounds. Specifically, my thoughts are drawn to discourse communities surrounding globalized forms of popular culture (due to my research interests). These discourse communities are harder to negotiate due to their multicultural nature. Remaining in one of these discourse communities requires the privilege of fluency in multiple languages or access to accurate translations. At times, interesting and meaningful essays can be lost to the larger discourse community due to a lack of reliable translations of that particular work.
Question 1: How can we work to make international discourse communities more accessible? Is it even possible?
Question 2: How can we work to better maintain and disseminate the works of international discourse communities?
My ideas about building new discourse communities are less fleshed out, but I think exploring how these discourse communities originate is worth discussing. Mainly, I have a couple of questions to pose about the building of new discourse communities:
Question 3: What does it take to build a new discourse community? At what point does it stop being just a collection of people talking about something and become a full-blown discourse community (or community of practice)?
Question 4: Is a central figure/theorist needed to begin a discourse community, on whose shoulders and work the community must build its ideas and arguments?