The Communities That I Belong To
The concept of a discourse community is ambiguous in nature. Despite that, one thing can be said for sure—that most of us, in one way or another, belong to one. As defined by John Swales, discourse communities are people who use communication to reach a common interest. Given this definition, we will soon realize that we have been a part of discourse communities all along. In fact, we could belong to multiple communites and move back and forth from each one as we go through our daily lives.
As I read the essays, I realized that the idea of discourse communities are widely involved in statistics. Whenever we make a statistical inquiry, we first determine the population or sample of interest. In choosing this, we lay out several characteristics that we want our elements to possess. It is highly possible that as we indicate our population of interest, we are already obeserving discourse communities. For example, conducting a study among UP Diliman students is looking into that specific discourse community.
Having learned all of that, I have started to identify the groups I belong to and evaluate whether they can be considered as a discourse community. For instance, as a student of UP Diliman that is currently enrolled in the BS Statistics program, I could say that I belong to the academic discourse community of Statistics majors in the university. Our common goal being to educate ourselves and contribute to the field of statistics. As members of the group, we also actively communicate with each other inside the college and outside through different social media platforms. Another example is a more personal group of mine, specifically one in my church. In our church, we have these so-called “life groups”. Within the group, we often conduct Bible studies wherein we discuss different verses and exchange our thoughts.
Of course, we are also united by one common goal which is to nurture our spiritual minds and personal relationship with God. Moving on to the more casual groups, a group of fans, more commonly known today as fandoms, may also be considered a discourse community as they share a common interest which may be a specific band, series or etc. In the social media platform Twitter, I could say I belong to the community of Friends fans. The fans of this television series all share their love for the show. We actively communicate through online social interactions such as posting Friends-related content and sharing or commenting on each one of these posts.
These are only some of the discourse communities I belong to. Some I have already left while I continue to actively participate in the others. Throughout life, we will continue to interact with people around us. We will meet people with similar interests and end up communicating within these communities. As we look at ourselves, a huge part of what we are and what we have done is a product of the discourse communites we belonged to.
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