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As John Wideman put it in his seminal book, a person visiting a prison "is forced to become an inmate . . . subject to the same sorts of humiliation and depersonalization . . . made to feel powerless, intimidated by the power of the state" (p.52). Yet this process of making visitors feel like prisoners paradoxically brings about a sense of community between visitor and inmate that might not otherwise exist.I visited my mother's boyfriend in prison for three years. He had been wrongly convicted and was in a state jail that seemed to attempt to make it very difficult for people to visit the prisoners in comfort. First of all, the criminal background of the person visiting needed to be checked before you could be put on the prisoner's visitor list. In an ironic reversal from the normal of role of prisons, to enter on e as a visitor one could not have a criminal record. Yet at the same time, once you had been passed as non-criminal (or at least never having been convicted of a criminal offense) you were then searched quite extensively before being allowed in.The visitors were forced to wait for more than an hour in a quite depressing and dirty waiting-room. The "discourse" that they took part in was one of silence at this point.
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Sometimes their search for order lead to compromise and adaptations.” Medieval theorists identified three orders of the society, to include those who work, those who fought and those who pray. These orders were based on one’s functions in the society and defined one’s status and prestige.
Such a community has common objectives and public goals, a participatory scheme that provides the relevant information for members and facilitates feedbacks, a scheme for effective communication among members, a way of making use of one or more communication genres, a more specific lexis and a level of threshold of members with degrees of relevant content in the discourse expertise (Gee, 486).
A discourse community has common goals or interests and uses unique communication to achieve these goals. Ideally, a discourse community has unique and unwritten rules that define the mode of communication and operations in given field. The defined communication and operations in a discourse community refer to discursive practices, which include knowledge on specific terminologies as well as genres like academic papers and debates.
It is compulsory for any member of a discourse community to have the necessary expertise or skills for purposes of achieving the common goals of this group. Ideally, members in a discourse community have common goals and use a unique language, specific terminologies, and specialized genres to achieve these goals.
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