Summary of Devitt's Article
In the article, “Genre performances: John Swales' Genre Analysis and Rhetorical-Linguistic Genre Studies,” Amy J. Devitt reviewed John Swales’ article where he explained genre through the combination of rhetoric and linguistics, and added her understanding of genre performance. Devitt described how Swales demonstrated the “beauty” of genre analysis through the use of three rhetorical moves: establishing a territory through claiming centrality, establishing a niche through indicating a gap, and occupying the niche through outlining purposes (Devitt 45). She then argued that genre studies should involve the unique individual performances of the writers as well as the rhetorical strategies Swales explained. An element of genre competence suggests that the genres writers decide to choose to write may have come from their own experiences and knowledge of the genre. Another element that emphasized genre competence is genre instruction, which teaches writers the similarities and differences within each genre. However, to identify genre patterns, genre analysis should not acknowledge the differences among genres within similar discourse communities. Genre theory is strengthened as non-homogeneous discourse communities are also analyzed to develop a better understanding of the identity, affect, and cognition of genre (Devitt 48). Despite the complexity of genre theory, scholars continue to develop rhetorical-linguistic genre studies that include both competence and performance to enable writers to produce unique works and moves.
Devitt, Amy J. “Genre Performances: John Swales Genre Analysis and Rhetorical-Linguistic Genre Studies.” Journal of English for Academic Purposes, vol. 19, 25 June 2015, pp. 44-51.