Maureen Dattilo; Abstract of Thesis

THE LIMITS AND POSSIBILITIES OF DISCOURSE ACQUISITION IN COMMUNITY-BASED WRITING AND PUBLISHING PROJECTS

Many critical and cultural theorists concern themselves with the practice of writing and the knowledge it produces, developing theories to understand writing as not only an individual practice, but also as a powerful Discourse that includes certain groups and excludes others. Questioning and rethinking the ways we assign and attribute value to writing (and the experiences contained within) forges a path to understand the effects of those valuations and opens the possibility of altering the ways we assign and attribute value. Coming from the standpoint that out-of-school literacy practices are important on an individual and cultural level, this thesis seeks to examine how community-based writing and publishing projects provide an opportunity for participants to build and work within communities that seek to affect some form of social change through community action. This analysis will explore the goals of the Chicago-based Journal of Ordinary Thought and Neighborhood Writing Alliance writing groups from which it emerges to examine if (and how) secondary Discourse acquisition and control is fostered and made use of in these out-of-school sites.

Renee Rallo
English Department
Colorado State University
Fort Collins, CO 80523
Summer 2005