Response, Revision, Disciplinarity: A Microhistory of a Dissertation Prospectus in Sociology

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Current social perspectives on writing and disciplinary enculturation are generally grounded in theories of discourse communities. Although assumptions underlying these theories have been seriously questioned, few studies of situated writing have applied alternate theories. In this article, I explore a sociohistoric notion of disciplinarity in a case study of how a sociology student's dissertation prospectus is negotiated in a graduate seminar. A microhistorical narrative of a response episode in the seminar and subsequent textual revision is contextualized in histories of local activity. Analysis of the seminar response foregrounds emergent, nonlinear, discursively heterogeneous practices of disciplinary sense-making. Analysis of the text foregrounds practices whereby situated histories of textual production and reception are transformed into purified representations of the discipline and the author. Finally, the analysis details how the disciplinary work of revision in this setting was socially distributed and interactively achieved.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)483-533
Number of pages51
JournalWritten Communication
Issue number4
StatePublished - Oct 1994

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Communication
  • Literature and Literary Theory


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