A Look at the American Society of Civil Engineers

Blog » A Look at the American Society of Civil Engineers

Posted on 08 Mar 2013 22:19

Created by Nelsyda PerezNelsyda Perez


The discourse community I was looking at was the American Society of Civil Engineers (ASCE). It was difficult to find enough writing of substance to look at since a membership is required and that same membership requires employment in the engineering field. In order to gain more news for my own personal future references I subscribed to the ASCE newsletter, but for the analysis of the discourse community I looked at the latest issue of the ASCE newsletter, which contained news relating to civil engineering accomplishments and current projects.

The news in the newsletter is a collection of many news stories from different third party news sites. These stories include, but are not limited to, the building of the SunRail transportation system, proposed plans that have not applied yet, the strengthening of the unstable Rosellini Bridge in Seattle and more. All of these relate to civil engineering, as the articles focus on advancements in the civil engineering field itself. Based on the goal of the ASCE to “provide essential value to our members and partners, advance civil engineering, and serve the public good”1, this newsletter seems to provide the value of the civil engineering world. It also helps to serve the public good by handing out this news freely to anyone.

While it is true almost everything involved with the ASCE requires a membership with the society, the newsletter and brief blogs are available to everyone. Because the articles featured on the ASCE newsletter come from general news sites, the articles are made for both insiders and outsiders. In the eyes of the ASCE it seems as if the newsletter is more for insiders because they claim that this is a way to “keep current with your industry without having to sift through the news every day”2. By using the word your, the ASCE implies that the newsletter is meant for civil engineers since this is literally their industry; however they do also mention that a membership is not required which is a huge “thumbs up” for outsiders just looking for applications of civil engineering in the real world. In other words, the society seems to spark interests in civil engineering for any outsiders hoping to bring them into the civil engineering world. Eventually they will start working as civil engineers, if their interests ever reach that level, and they will slowly become insiders as they become more involved with the society.

Some terms used by the civil engineering society include infrastructure, SmartBrief, and project-related technical terms such as pontoons, seismic retrofitting. These are words that could be used by people in general, but you might see a civil engineer using them more often. For instance, infrastructure refers to mainly America’s infrastructure. It refers to how properly maintained are the structures, roads, and the many man-made things that exist in America, The ASCE focuses on it a lot because the society feels that America’s infrastructure is poorly maintained. Some ways they show this is though the projects that civil engineers are participating in that involve improving an already weakened structure (i.e. the Rosellini Bridge). The ASCE would also use SmartBrief, their engineering newsletter, to supply subscribers with civil engineering news that makes them aware of what is happening in the world. The technical terms are used mainly to explain what is going on since the people writing the articles are expecting their readers to know the words that they use. This in some ways separates the "semi-insiders" from the outsiders.

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