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About This Book
A Genre Analysis of Social Change contributes to current scholarship in rhetorical genre studies and discourse analysis in contexts of social change. Diana Wegner explores the ways that historical genre systems can be transformed through the process of discursive uptake across genres and their spheres of activity. In this study such cross-genre uptake is pursued from its beginning in advocacy genres to its incorporation into higher-level, institutional genres. It represents the summation of Wegner's work over many years on how systems of genre can adapt to change as groups and institutional systems negotiate the uptake of solutions to major social challenges, in this case study the Canadian "Housing First" solution to ending homelessness. Her study shows how rhetorical genre analysis can offer insight into issues related to social justice for marginal groups within society. Introducing the concepts of "deep" and "shallow" genre memory, Wegner analyzes why uptake is problematic and disturbing for those participants in the homelessness genre system who find that the receiving genre does not "remember" the historical moorings of its antecedent contexts. Genre provides an explanatory framework for these uptake dynamics, and for both the re-inscription of power relations and the incremental progress of the shared struggle to help homeless people. The book includes an introduction by Heather Graves.