A discourse community is group of people who share an understanding of basic values and assumptions, and how they communicate these goals. This is important to understand because we are all apart of discourse communities. After going over some assigned readings I realized that 3 writers Harris, Bartholomaes, and Barthes were trying to explain that we all have our own influences and styles of writing. Although that I true sometimes our variety of experiences and goals that we share can bring us together. Thus without us realizing we are “willingly” apart of discourse communities
Discourse communities are not a matter of boxing people in for a comparison of one group to another to see who’s more superior in their thoughts. I think of them as a means to help gain new ideas, feedback and knowledge from other people that may share the same thoughts as you. Therefor these communities can be helpful in many ways and you can branch from one to another.
John Swales’ has a reading that can help break down discourse communities. His six characteristics help define what a discourse community is. After applying his knowledge to the writings of Harris you can learn the significance of belonging to more than one community at one time.
Harris approves of a statement from Bartholomaes. The statement was “we write not as isolated individuals but as members of communities who beliefs, concerns, and practices both instigate and constrain, at least in part, the sorts of things we can say.” Harris also refers to a statement from Stanley Fish, “one is always simultaneously a part of several discourses, several communities, is always already committed to a number of conflicting beliefs and practices.”
Harris also approves of the statement Barthes makes which is “We do not write simply as individuals, but we do not write simply as members of a community either”, which is supported by another quote by Pratt: “People and groups are constituted not by single uni- fied belief systems, but by competing self-contradictory ones”.
After comparing and contrasting between the two statements Harris sums them up by saying “Our aims and intention in writing are this not merely personal, idiosyncratic, but reflective of the communities to which we belong”. I agree with his statement, I can honestly say that personally I can’t identify all “discourse communities” and I can’t explain why they exist. I do agree with the statements provided by all the writers. I can say that I think it is okay that discourse communities exist, because we get to learn new things and adopt new ideas from a variety of social classes, culture, races, languages and etc. Then we can come up with ways to blend the knowledge we gain, and share it with the world.