Understanding genre

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This article serves as an introduction to the state-of-the-art in contemporary genre research. It aims to mediate between genre research and scholars working with genre in other disciplines by laying out six basic tenets of genre research. The article this describes 1) how genres are almost omnipresent in culture; 2) how they unite regulation and innovation; 3) how they combine to form larger patterns including other genres; 4) how genres are connected in time; 5) how interpretation through genre is tacit and rarely understood as generic interpretation; and finally 6) how our perception of genres tend to naturalize them, thus leading to the question whether teaching genre is a conservative measure whereby the teacher, knowingly or unknowingly, naturalizes existing ideologies and power structures to the students. Drawing on these insights, the second, and shorter, part of the article exemplifies the role of genre in a concrete social exchange between the author and the West Copenhagen police department. It shows how the participants in the exchange draw on extensive genre competencies without having to reflect upon them. The article closes by presenting some of the consequential and wide-reaching perspectives involved in genre research.
Original languageEnglish
JournalJournal of Zhejiang International Studies University
Volume3
Issue number2
Pages (from-to)14-27
Number of pages14
Publication statusPublished - 2018

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