BP4: Proposal Community

Blog » BP4: Proposal Community

Posted on 19 Mar 2013 15:08

Introduction:

The term “discourse community” is a rather vague one. Scholars such as John Swales, Ann M. Johns, James Paul Gee, and many more, have each written substantially on the topic. In short, a discourse community is basically a group of people that share ideas through any means of communication.
In this proposal you will read a little about the community I have chosen, my plans for conducting my research, and my challenges for this project. Additionally, I will mention which scholars have helped me develop my plans and why. Lastly, I will explain how this project will be beneficial to others and myself.

The Current Situation:

Each scholar has his or her own way of describing a discourse community. Perhaps the most significant definition, at least for my purposes, is that of John Swales. He offers six criteria for a community to be considered a discourse community:

1. There must be a set of shared goals
2. There must be “mechanisms” of communication
3. These “mechanisms” must primarily provide information and feedback
4. The community must utilize one or more genres to advance its goals
5. There must be an acquired lexis
6. There must be experts in this community

Discourse communities are significant as they are vastly spread around the world. Almost everyone is part of a discourse community. These communities’ values could be about anything; for instance, the goal of one community may be to spread awareness of environmental issues, while another’s might be to chat about the latest videogames. Discourse communities teach us a lot about society, as well as human interaction, communication, and values.

The Project & the Plan:

For my project, I will be studying my very own Jewish Sephardic Community of Brooklyn. I plan on first defining my community as a discourse community in accordance with Swales six criteria. For the research section of this project, I will look into Jewish books, rabbinic works, articles, etc. Moreover, I would like to interview a fellow member of the community (probably someone from my family, or a friend). I also may speak about major conflicts that the community faces day to day.

Review of Qualifications:
I am at a huge advantage when it comes to researching this discourse community. First off, I was born into it, so I know the ins and outs. Next, I have a plethora or resources to choose from such as, books, magazines, people, articles, online forums, and more. I will use my Hebrew reading skills when necessary. Moreover, I myself am an excellent source for general, and even some detailed, information on the community.

Challenges:

I believe my biggest challenge for this project will be my wide access to resources and information. I will have to choose very meticulously what to write about. Also, it will be difficult to organize everything in a readable fashion.

Benefits:

This project will benefit anyone who reads it and myself. In the case of the readers, they will gain some valuable knowledge of a rather large Jewish community. For myself, on the other hand, I feel that I will greatly enjoy researching my community. I may not be learning many new things about my community; however, it will be one of the first times that I will be formally expressing my thoughts and knowledge about it.

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