In “Literacy Discourse and Linguistics” Gee shares with us his thoughts on the different types of the discourse communities. Gee illustrates Discourses to be ““ways of being in the world; they are forms of life which integrate words, acts, values, beliefs, attitudes, and social identities as well as gestures, glances, body positions, and clothes.” Gee goes on to examine the Primary Discourse community which is involvement with social interactions, like your immediate family. The family or any other primary discourse community would lay the foundation for all of the rest of the discourse communities the individual joins later in life. Next on Gee’s list were Secondary Discourse communities, which are attained from social institutions like church, school, and work. Secondary Discourses are usually transitional throughout one’s life. Also, the individual more than likely is involved with more than just one Secondary Discourse. The Secondary Discourse community is split into two separate parts Dominate Discourse and Nondominate Discourse. In Dominate Discourse it generates “social goods”like money, status, and power, with this discourse an increase in status could be underway. In a Nondominate Discourse it brings “solidarity with a particular social network”, this community doesn’t really an increase in one’s status. A mushfake discourse is when people make do with what is available. Ann Johns speaks of mushfake and goes on to say that people can join dominant discourses by only knowing what it required for a discourse community. They do not have to be actively involved, but know the basics. One of the most important things about mushfake, in my opinion, is that it is the chameleon act of being accepted into a Discourse or environment. An example of mushfaking is dressing and talking differently for a job interview. Mushfaking is the product of society’s push for conformity for acceptance.
Gee explains to us that a discourse is something that can neither be taught nor learned in the class but instead is more like an“apprenticeship”, it has to be discovered through social interactions with people in that certain discourse community.“You can’t overtly teach anyone a Discourse in a classroom or anywhere else”(Gee 7). You have to be committed to learn a Discourse to be a “master”of it. Gee argues that there is no other way than to master the Discourse. The only way a Discourse community can survive is through the cycle of apprentice-master training.
The words discourse and a discourse community have similar meanings, both dealing with communication. A discourse is communication either written or spoken. A discourse community is a set of people who share some of the same language, values, and goals. These aspects are one’s identity kit in their Discourse. Gee relates to our major research project because we will be researching are future discourse communities we wish to join. We would learn the language and goals of the people in our discourse community. To some of us our goal would be to master our major or in this case Discourse.