By Patrick J. M. Costello, Sally Mitchell
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Extra resources for Competing and Consensual Voices: The Theory and Practice of Argument (Language and Education Library)
Each discursive shift reflects the assumptions governing the dominating Zeitgeist of psychology at the time. First, as psychology moved from a philosophical enterprise to an experimental one at the end of the nineteenth century, the form of the articles changed slowly from reasoned philosophical explorations to descriptions of experimental studies. Under the influence of associative psychology, the descriptions of experiments shifted over time to Page 15 descriptions that privileged the subjects of the studies, and the genre began to become more standardised.
In constructing claims and evidence for their articles, the writers drew from a range of argumentative norms, strategies and goals; some of these are typically valued in schools, others on the street. What they produced appeared (in a particularly Bakhtinian way) to be shaped by various voices: the comments and questions of adults and peers that merged and collided with internalised voices of teachers past and present; the expectations of teenage readers; the shaping power of available models; the discourse of drugs; and what the authors suggest, often goes unseen the writers' own goals, interests and interpretations.
Undergraduates identified over half of these same genres which suggested that they had some meta-knowledge about some of the kinds of writing in which professionals in psychology engage. Participants were then asked to list all of the types of writing they had done in the discipline. The professors and graduate students reported having written in most of the genres they had previously named. By contrast, very few of the undergraduates reported having written in any of the genres named for their courses in psychology.