Activity Theory and Process Approaches: Writing (Power) in School, and Society

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Date
1999
Authors
Russel, David
Russell, David
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Abstract

Breaking with the still-dominant process tradition in composition studies, post-process theory―or at least the different incarnations of post-process theory discussed by the contributors represented in this collection of original essays―endorses the fundamental idea that no codifiable or generalizable writing process exists or could exist. Post-process theorists hold that the practice of writing cannot be captured by a generalized process or a "big" theory.

Most post-process theorists hold three assumptions about the act of writing: writing is public; writing is interpretive; and writing is situated. The first assumption is the commonsensical claim that writing constitutes a public interchange. By "interpretive act," post-process theorists generally mean something as broad as "making sense of" and not exclusively the ability to move from one code to another. To interpret means more than merely to paraphrase; it means to enter into a relationship of understanding with other language users. And finally, because writing is a public act that requires interpretive interaction with others, writers always write from some position or some place. Writers are never nowhere; they are "situated."

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This chapter is published as Russell, David R. "Activity Theory and Process Approaches: Writing (Power) in School, and Society." In Post-Process Theory: Beyond the Writing Process Paradigm. Carbondale, IL: Southern Illinois U P, 1999. Posted with permission.

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