Swales Relates to Football?

Blog » Swales Relates to Football?

Posted on 13 Mar 2013 00:13

Sean Branick discusses how football coaches can be seen as a discourse community in his essay “Coaches Can Read, Too: An Ethnographic Study of a Football Coaching Discourse Community”. His main reason for writing about this discourse community is that many people would not see football coaches as a discourse community nor as a group that uses many literary genres, if any. The author hoped that it would reveal to people that even a group that seems far from a literary discourse community such as football coaches can be shown to have the characteristics of a discourse community that John Swales put forth in his essay, “The Concept of Discourse Community”.

Sean Branick did his research for his paper by interviewing some football coaches at Dayton University, where he was studying at the time that he wrote this paper. He asked them several open-ended questions that, while seemingly obvious questions, lead to answers for how football coaches can be seen as a discourse community. While asking these questions, Branick was able to get the information he needed, from coaches themselves, to help prove his notion that football coaches can be seen as a discourse community. He also not only received the answers from one coach on the team, but from multiple coaches of the same football team. He was able to show that the football coaches, as a discourse community, have shared goals, lexis, and genres.

I think that this piece was created to show an “expect the unexpected” notion. While it is obvious that football coaches are very important an influential to a team, and also to the culture of America because of the importance placed on sports in this country, many do not think of them as a discourse community that s described by John Swales. Branick helps prove that while many do not expect a group such as football coaches to meet Swale’s criteria, it in fact does reach the standards. He is able to show this through questions asked of the people that are actually a part of said discourse community. He shows that they do have a specific genre in playbooks, specific lexis in play calls, and many shared goals which include, but are not limited to, winning games on a team level, or getting a player to reach his capabilities on an individual level.

In Swale’s piece, he takes a different approach to his research. In Branick’s piece, Branick has to interview people that are in this community to be able to prove his notion about the group being a discourse community. However, Swales is a part of the community that he is researching, so he has first hand information that can be used to show that the Hong Kong Study Circle was a discourse community. Swales was able to use his own personal knowledge to show how the HKSC applied to his own guidelines that he set to describe a discourse community. This is opposite of Branick’s piece because Branick did not have personal knowledge about things like genres and lexis for the group that he discussed.

I think that Branick’s method for researching would be best for me for my discourse community project because I am writing about a group of which I am not a part. However, my father is a part of the international Brotherhood of Electrical Workers Local #3 Union and has first-hand knowledge of some of the workings of the union. I will be able to interview him to receive some knowledge about how the IBEW Union can be seen as a discourse community. Although Swales’ method does not apply to me, if other students are using a group that they are personally a part then they can use Swales’ method of research.

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