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Discourses of Power: Feminine Centers of Electronic Discourse Communities

National Council of Teachers of English Annual Meeting,


Analysis of the difference between male-centered and female-centered electronic discourse communities identifies patterns which may exclude or privilege individual females. This paper characterizes female-centered electronic dialogue through studying the roles of Sarah and Rachel, women in two separate sections of first-year English who became the central figures in each class's listserv; male-centered dialogue is represented by Josh and Kelsey who dominated the third class section. Each class exhibited a different pattern: (1) Sarah led a supportive but subjective interchange; (2) Rachel centered a lively, idealistic, often confrontational exchange; and (3) Josh and Kelsey reduced the intellectual level of the electronic conversations through sarcasm and insults. Their aggressive, male interaction negatively affected the quality of listserv discourse. Clear gender distinctions are apparent when samples are studied from the three classes; his/stories differ from her/stories. Through analysis of sample electronic entries from all three sections, tabulation of number and length of male and female responses, and comparison of grades for the listserv assignment, the paper shows how the males'"one-up" behavior had a negative impact on the electronic conversation. Contains 6 references; a listserv posting is attached. (Author/RS)


Lemon, H.S. (1999). Discourses of Power: Feminine Centers of Electronic Discourse Communities. Presented at National Council of Teachers of English Annual Meeting 1999. Retrieved October 17, 2021 from .

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