NRA Discourse Community

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Posted on 08 Mar 2013 03:14

The National Rifle Association, more commonly known as the NRA, is a prime example of a discourse community. They all share a common goal: to unite with rifles and practice shooting and hunting under safe conditions. They care about promoting shooting sports, as well as training (i.e. for the military), education, and marksmanship. The National Rifle Association uses a website which has a blog to discuss and debate critical issues, as well as the NRA news which has over fifteen hours of weekday live programming. Moreover, the NRA has a few other news sources, and they can all be found on the website.
These documents help community members of the National Rifle Association achieve their goals by keeping them up-to-date with current legislation as well as discuss their interest in hunting, shooting, and competing.
Looking at the NRA blog, I can clearly see an example of a discourse community according to Swales’ definition of a discourse community. I’ll take you through a breakdown of Swales’ definition and how it relates to the NRA.
1.“A discourse community has a broadly agreed set of common goals.”
Well, the NRA was founded in order to connect people with a common interest in rifles and guns. Whether it was for sport or hunting, the NRA began for these people to share their interest. Their goal is to properly train people how and when to use guns, as well as organize safe competitions for people who enjoy shooting and hunting.
2.“A discourse community has mechanisms of intercommunication among its members.”
This NRA blog is used to intercommunicate among its members. Not only are articles posted to the blog site, but also the site is used as a connection to all programs related to the NRA. For example, there is a section solely for youth programs, which has a variety of options for children and teens in competition and training.
3.“A discourse community uses its participatory mechanisms primarily to provide information and feedback.”
The NRA blog is open for the public to read (as I am reading it now), but in order to post on the blog, one must be a member. In order to become a member, one must pay an annual fee of $35 (or $60 for 2 years, $85 for 3, etc.), or a lifetime membership one-time payment of $1000. Members of the NRA enjoy benefits such as exclusive events and dinners for NRA members, blog posting access, and among other things, insurance for their weapon.
4.“A discourse community utilizes and hence possesses one or more genres in the communicative furtherance of its aims.”
While the NRA has its most commonly known blog, there are actual meetings among NRA members as well. It is a whole other genre, yet it also further discusses the goals of the NRA, which are mentioned above.
5.“In addition to owning genres, a discourse community has acquired some specific lexis.”
Members of the NRA are all gun owners, so they know a lot of terminology relating to weapons and hunting and shooting. Their lexis includes “bandolier” which refers to a pocketed belt that hold ammunition. Moreover, they must know the lexis for specific types of guns, whether it be a caliber or a magnum.
6.“A discourse community has a threshold level of members with a suitable degree of relevant content and discoursal expertise.”
Lastly, members of the NRA discourse community all have background knowledge of guns and weaponry. If they don’t, they can still join because the NRA offers training courses and classes to help people learn the terminology and become familiar and build their expertise and knowledge with weapons.

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