Ty Berg 2/27/17
Final Draft ELA 122
Success can be measured in many different ways, but the most common is from a socioeconomic standpoint or the idea of gaining social goods. The social goods you gain from a Discourse may vary depending on where that discourse is placed in today’s social hierarchy.Some Discourses are more valued than others because you gain different social goods. I prefer the more generous approach where anyone who is literate in a Discourse is already successful regardless of the social goods they gain. Most people will view the success of a discourse based on the social goods gained from the discourse.
Gee would say “Dominant Discourses are secondary Discourses the mastery of which, at a particular place and time. Brings with it the (potential) acquisition of social “goods” (money, prestige, status, etc.)” (8) , in other words he would agree with the idea that there is a social hierarchy within discourses. He would not agree with my approach that anyone who is literate in any sort of discourse is successful. He believes that the amount of success achieved from a discourse is based on the social goods you gain from it. Another idea from Gee is this idea that once you are literate in a discourse you are technically a master and therefore would no longer be an apprentice. In Brandt’s words, master would be Sponsors and apprentices would be the people that the sponsors promote. I think we need to forget about the idea of this social hierarchy and have a more open mindset on things. Success of a Discourse should be based on what that Discourse is and how well the person knows it.
“As the twentieth century turned the abilities to read and write into widely exploitable resources, commercial sponsorship abounded” says Brandt (557). In other words being literate contributed to more success so more people or Sponsors decided to enlighten themselves. She is basically stating the fact that in our present time period the acquisition of literacy helps lead people to be more successful. A conflicting statement from Gee says, “Social groups will not, Usually give their social goods…to those who are not “native” or “fluent users” (10). So even though becoming literate is on the rise the access in which is given depends on who is giving it. Most people who have mastered a Discourse or have become a Sponsor are the ones who determine who they want to teach what they know because what would be the point in teaching someone a Discourse that you took the time to know without getting anything from it.
Brant would say that if you become a sponsor then you have achieved literacy success. “Sponsors, as we ordinarily think of them, are powerful figure who bankroll events or smooth the way for initiates” (557). Sponsors are people who gain the social goods that were explained by Gee. Sponsors help by sponsoring other people which helps advertise their success and make them even more successful. At the same time making others successful by sponsoring them but they only would choose people who would help them gain social goods. So both Gee and Brant support the side that follows the idea of this social hierarchy. Brandt’s idea is similar to Gee’s because she believes that once you have gained the title of being a sponsor (master) then you have the opportunity to take on apprentices. I think Brant would support both ideas; the idea of a social hierarchy and a more laid back point of view were it depends on who the sponsor is and how well they know their Discourse that determines their success. A sponsor could be a teacher to student relationship where the teacher is teaching the student what they know and then the student can then apply what they learned. There is no guarantee that the Sponsor (teacher) will gain anything from teaching the student but they do it anyways.
“How Dance Changed My Life” by Taylor Brouillette, is her story how dancing helped to shape the person she is today and make it to college. She has been dancing ever since the age of two and has always loved it. Gee would say that she would be literate in the discourse of dancing and he would say that she is successful in that discourse. She is successful in Gees eyes because in her dancing career she has gained social goods such as money and status from competing in dance competitions. On top of her success in the past she can further her success after being accepted on her college dance team. Even though dancing would not be defined as a dominant secondary discourse but because of the work she put in over time it meets the requirements and then some. Meaning she gained more than just social goods but it also shaped who she is today so Gee would define that as part of her Primary Discourse as well as a Dominant secondary discourse. Brant would now see her as a Sponsor who then has the opportunity to sponsor others but the argument there would but what would she gain from that.
“How I graduated study skills” by Aidan Shaw-Pigeon and “SAT’s Take Two” by Quentin Duperry are two different Narratives with very similar experiences. Both students explain about a time in their life when they had some sort of struggle in school and then overcame their struggles. Aidan explains his transition into high school and how the tests and work became harder for him. In 8th grade he joined a studying skills development class with a teacher named Ms. Halnon. She helped him develop his studying skills which in turn helped him get better grades; helping him get into college. Quentin’s story is very similar because of the fact that he also developed studying skills which helped him get a better grade on the SAT’s, which helped him get into college. These examples fit more with what I believe rather than what Gee and Brant are saying. What they gained from their experiences wouldn’t be considered social goods but from their point of view they gained a lot from the Discourse they learned.
Brouillette, Taylor. “How Dance Changed My Life.” Rising Cairn. University of New England.
December 1, 2016. Medium. March 6, 2017
Duperry, Quentin. “SAT’s Take Two.” Rising Cairn. University of New England. December 5,
- Medium. March 6, 2017.
Shaw-Pigeon, Aidan. “How I graduated study skills.” Rising Cairn. University of New England.
December 5, 2016. Medium. March 6, 2017.
Gee, Paul. “Literacy, Discourse, and Linguistics: Introduction.” Department of Linguistics,
University of Southern California. Volume 171 #1, 1989. March 6, 2017.
Brandt, Deborah. “Sponsors of Literacy.”