Understanding Genre

In Deans, Expanding Gene theory, she talks about what genre really is and what is means in context to writing. She addresses many different writers and theorists in this work while comparing different standpoints and opinions on genre. As young people, students especially, we don’t look at genre in this way. Most of the time we view genre as a short of term in relation to movies or music or style of writing but I is so much more than that. Dean helps to expand our knowledge on the real complexity of genre.

One aspect of genre dean talking about is the social aspect of genre. This was a little confusing for me to understand because it forced me to think about genre itself as social not that there is a social genre. Then it goes on to say that there are parts of social genre that are obvious and not obvious which lead to the term intertexuality. This raises a lot of questions for me simply because we as students aren’t really trained to look for these things, so even if there are some “obvious” social aspects, how would we be able to be confident in identifying them.

As Dean discusses the seven different aspects of genre social, rhetorical, dynamic, historical, cultural, situated, ideological, the one that confused me the most was historical. It was especially difficult for me to understand how genres are historical because I was thinking about it in the sense that genres have been around for a number of years rather than the fact that genres build on the previous ones. I don’t even know if that is even the right way to summarize “historical genre”. I still am having trouble following what really makes them historical. I guess for me I understand what Dean says makes them historical but I would probably use a different word to describe this.

Overall, my understanding of genre has definitely expanded since reading Deans work about genre, I believe that it will really aid in my writing processes from here on out and I will be able to more accurately articulate appropriate writing through genre.


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