Case Study of Sociology Discourse Community

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Discourse community is defined in the Genre Analysis as the “Increasingly common assumption that discourse operates within conventions defined by communities, be they academic disciplines or social groups”. (Herzberg Pg. 21). As this is a very simple break down of the term discourse community, the work that goes into keeping a discourse community continuously relevant and going is a deeper. The discourse community that I am interested in becoming a part of is the sociology discourse community. This discourse community has various elements that can be broken down.

Sociology has a huge impact on our society and has for as long as this Earth. I decided to research the sociology discourse community because I am interested in becoming a part of this field soon. I feel that researching will help me further assure myself and get a clearer understanding of what I will be entering after graduation.

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In this paper, I will express in detail the sociology discourse community, common public goals, various forms of communication used, membership, lexis (terminology) and major issues going on within the sociology discourse community.

Common Goals

According to the American Sociological Association the common public goals among sociologist are “Dedicated to advancing sociology as a scientific discipline and profession serving the public good”. Overall sociologists play a vital role in not only sharing the knowledge of the world but also it is seen as their personal responsibility and or duty to keep the public in the know about what’s not only going on around us but even also internationally. Sociologists tend to also write a lot on academic journals and even published books that are later read and shared throughout the discourse community, which word of mouth reaches people outside of the discourse community. As new issues occur overtime, sociologists use this uncertainty to curate tons of research, from experience or from observation. Other goals that a lot of sociologists may also associate themselves with are having a set of principles and ethical standards when conducting their research from day to day (American Sociological Association). Every sociologist has certain rules that they abide by so that they don’t lose their focus with ethics.

Sociology overtime has evolved with new issues objectively and ethically and to keep the general public informed. To compare my findings with those of an active sociologist, Randall Wyatt, a professor and current PhD student currently teaching Sociology courses at Wayne State University. He clued me in by answering my question during our interview; I asked him this question “What are the common public goals?” he answered by stating that,” The common public goal of sociologists are to make a contribution, to understand and also provide methods which can later lead to creating change.”

Threshold of Membership

To enter and become a member of the sociology community, there a few requirements that must be met first. The first big requirement to become a part of the sociology is too interested in the study of society, social institutions, and social relationships (American Sociological Association). Therefore, if you are interested, it will be very easy for you to stay motivated and keep a grasp of what’s going on today. The next requirement is that you subscribe to the different objectives and or meetings (annual or monthly) that are held by the American Sociological Association. You must pay to get into the subscriptions, that is their way of keeping their association up and going. It is a monthly amount

Another requirement to stay apart of this sociology discourse community is to actively be apart of the committee. There are a lot of roles to choose from. According to the American Sociological Association you can become an editor for the ASA Journal or Book Series, volunteering for the council, task force or also participate for running for an elected office (ASA). The fourth requirement is to be actively involved with the ASA sections. The ASA sections are newsletters that curate current news for people within the sociology discourse community to be in the know and give current news about the various ASA sections, their leaders and when they are having fundraisers, events and book announcements (ASA).

This is a very critical requirement, because with becoming a part of an ASA section. It helps you not only connect with other sociologists; it also motivates you to stay connected and know what’s going on in society. Within these ASA sections, leaders are elected and have a set amount of duties that they must fulfill throughout the year.

Journalism Lexis

According to lexis is defined as a term in linguistics referring to the vocabulary of a language. Lexis are also known as terminology that are used and recognize within a discourse community. Lexis are used in every discourse community to identify things that mostly only a certain group would know about (sociologist). In the sociology DC (discourse community) Randall mentioned that common lexis used between sociologists are microaggressions, capitalism, principles, attitudes and assimilate”. Through my findings, I realized that lexis within this community are very subjective. It really depends on what area of sociology you study and what you deem as important in your research and findings. I gained a lot of insight from my interview with Randall, the ins and outs of the lexis he deals with and how it also breaks down within his family dynamic.


There a various form of genres within sociology. It really depends what job you process within this discourse community. For example, (talk about different jobs and what genres they

Academically speaking, sociologists publish articles in academic journals like other discourse community, but ethics are the huge factor that goes in before any publishing or even thought of an academic journal comes to mind. Without ethics sociology can be in turmoil.

Mechanisms of Participation and Intercommunication

Sociologists communicate using newsletters, academic journals, annual or even biweekly meetings and or luncheons (ASA). Sociology is all about coming together and expressing your thoughts and concerns with your peers, and the methods to find the solutions to the issues you see that may be impacting you or those around you. I also feel that during my interview with Randall gave a unique outlook to how he stays connected within his discourse community. He stated that

” It isn’t just staying in touch with current events, it’s more than that. It’s about being in my community actively, using my real-life experiences as learning and teaching moments for myself and even for my children. You can read about what’s going 24/7, but if you aren’t actively within your community and seeing what’s going on. You can’t truly know what’s happening or not happening. I want to be active. Theory without action is dead. Impact one another. If you not picking up a book, you shouldn’t be able to pick up a gun”.

I personally feel that those words are pivotal and powerful. That although you have a degree within sociology, but every day you are still using that same major to continuously learn life lessons and be able to help those around you (whether it be a family dynamic or just loved ones).

Major Topics/Issues

The major issues that are going on currently within the sociology discourse community is the lack of unity and or inclusion within a community that is supposed to be known for being very inclusive and open to conversation, although in this case, that isn’t always the case. Through my findings I find a quote that resonated the most with this issue. The American Sociologist stated that,” The structuring of academic roles and academic departments also presents and encourages tendencies to division and conflict. These arise from diverse sources, three of which appear to be the most salient.” This is very much relevant in todays sociology discourse community. Although sociologists’ main goal in the end is to create change, sometimes if the people in certain roles that have more say so don’t agree with your methods, they may sometimes not be considered or looked over. A great example of this would be with immigration. A lot of sociologists have methods to combat with how to better relationships with immigration, but the result isn’t always an actual solution, it can very much be compared to communism and or socialism. It seems good in theory but when its time to put those methods into practice, it doesn’t always correlate right. As I was reading this article, I found a very captivating article from Among its flaws, critics have especially attacked multiculturalism’s apparent failure to integrate immigrants into host societies. Certain concerns center on socioeconomic exclusions. Multiculturalism is believed to encourage immigrants’ self-segregation and thus to impede their integration into mainstream social and economic structures (Koopmans, 2005).

Without coming together and making tough decisions to better the relationship with immigration, it leaves room for a lot of confusion and not coming to a levelheaded agreement. We can’t always be right, but with taking a vote and coming together for the greater good (society) and not always just ourselves and our mindsets, so much more can be accomplished.

Interesting Questions to Research

  1. Why is there a lack of unity within the sociology discourse community?
  2. Where does the lack of inclusion within the sociology discourse community stem from?
  3. How does the media affect how sociologists write their academic journals?


  1. Smelser, N. J. (2015). Sources of unity and disunity in sociology. The American Sociologist, 46(3), 303-312. doi:10.1007/s12108-015-9260-2
  2. Swales, M. John. Genre Analysis. Ann Arbor: Cambridge University Press, Article (Print).
  3. Wyatt, Randall. (2019, September). Personal Interview.
  4. Bloemraad, Irene. (2007) Du Bois Review: Social Science Research on Race. UCLA (Article).
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Case Study of Sociology Discourse Community. (2022, July 14). Edubirdie. Retrieved June 16, 2024, from
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