Complete Story


Summer 2000, pages 92-104

Distinguishing Formative and Receptive Contexts in the Disciplinary Formation of Composition Studies: A Response to Mailloux

Abstract: In his essay "Disciplinary Identities: On the Rhetorical Paths between English and Communication Studies," Steven Mailloux notes that "many compositionists in the seventies and eighties did not find it necessary to claim to be a scientific discipline" (16). I respond to this claim by focusing on the new discourse about writing that emerged in the 1970s in work by Emig, Shaughnessy, Flower & Hayes, and others. Distiniguishing between the "formative" (intellectual) contexts from which this work drew, and the "receptive" contexts in which it came to valued, used, and resonate, I show that whereas the roots of this work were almost exclusively empirical, their effects in the receptive context, including beyond the academy, were deeply rhetorical.
Read the Rhetoric Society Quarterly Get information about our conferences Get information about our institutes Learn about becoming a member Access members-only content