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Learning To Inkshed:  Learning to Belong
An essay from 2004 about first Inkshedding experiences.
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Inkshed: History as Context
A reprint of my presentation at the spring 2006 Inkshed conference
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The following is the abstract from my recently defended doctoral thesis entitled "Community membership through socially situated writing processes: A journey of inkshedding into Inkshed":

Abstract

This research examines the ways that socially mediated writing processes facilitate membership in communities of practice. Writing practices are located within rhetorical contexts and as newcomers to a community participate in community practices, they learn to recognize the rhetorical context in which they are writing. As their competence in the rhetorical context increases, they move from a position of peripheral membership in that community to a position of full participation or membership. Drawing on theories of practice and genre to understand the ways that writing practices form communities and shape membership, the research investigates the Canadian Association for the Study of Language and Learning (CASLL) and a writing process called inkshedding. The study uses a variety of qualitative methods to examine the ways that learning to inkshed facilitates (and sometimes frustrates) membership in CASLL. Each stage of the inkshedding activity is presented as a stage in membership. The initial stage of writing in inkshedding engenders feelings of anxiety that confront newcomers in their peripheral position. The circulation of texts illustrates the different ways that texts can be read, moving newcomers either to increased participation in the collective or leaving them on the periphery. The subsequent publication of selected texts mirrors the ways that newcomers may successfully become full participants.

This study of writing practices and community membership contributes to a growing body of literature that demonstrates the central role that writing plays in the development of collectives. It is significant because it offers a detailed account of a process whereby individuals become full members of a community of practice through writing practices and thus supports notions of writing as socially situated. It also supports notions that community membership is attained through gradually increasing participation in community practices.

» Read the entire thesis by clicking here


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