Mapping Rhetorical Knowledge in Advanced Academic Writers: The Affordances of a Transactional Framework to Disciplinary Communication

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Research on written communication shows that rhetorical knowledge is a key domain of disciplinary writing expertise (Gere et. al. 2019). Much of the recent work in this area has focused on the social dimensions of learning this knowledge. This article builds on these conversations with a presentation of two “advanced academic writers” (Tardy, 2009) and interpreting how they conceptualize rhetorical knowledge through an understanding of academic communication as transaction and symbolic exchange (Britton & Pradl, 1982). I make a case for the value of a transactional framework for interpreting writers’ performance of genre situations. I also show that this framework can provide a “metagenre” (Carter, 2007), a way of doing writing in the discipline, and a “threshold concept” (Adler-Kassner & Wardle, 2015), a way of thinking about writing tasks that shapes writers’ experiences of and learning with them. The two case studies provide an argument for the efficacy of rhetorical knowledge in fostering disciplinary genres when it is framed as understanding situations of communication.

1302 Curriculum and Pedagogy, 2003 Language Studies