My site of investigation is a dance studio, namely Fit Dance Studio, in Kowloon Bay. It has been, without a second thought, chosen for my ethnographic research because I have been an active participant over there recurrently for five years on a regular basis. I have been going to the dance classes and joining regular parties with other participants, including dance tutors and students of different ages and backgrounds from time to time. In this regard, my ethnographic data may sound and accurate with my understanding about the community. I acquire the data through observational techniques and participation in the practice. Since my participation is a long process of approximately five years, I believe I am a competent member and my analysis is representative to illustrate the ideas of interdiscourse communication in this site.
Context of the community
The dance studio offers dancing classes every Monday, Wednesday, Thursday at night, as well as Saturday and Sunday in the afternoon. Each class consists of ten to twenty students and one dance tutor. There are sporadic dancing sessions at night when members participate in dance competitions. The community hosts parties on a regular basis for birthday celebration of dance tutors. The members in the Discourse have these few variety of social interactions attributable to the constellation of genres.
Participants of the Discourse are from different Discourse systems and hence they have different social identities in the society, namely office ladies, housewives and secondary school students. Majority of the participants are female.
Verbal language is the key message form of communication. Text-based communication on phone and Facebook group page are sometimes used for announcement of updated class information and informal discussion.
Ideologies of the community
It can be said that the Discourse community is highly ideological from being legitimate members to patterns of communication. Members have to pay to get the permission to participate in the official events, including dance classes and parties. Students are expected to wear proper clothing and shoes for the ease of dancing. As the class period is bounded time limited, punctuality is highly appreciated. There are patterns of doing things that the tutors and students practice in every class and party as if they are natural.
For instance, in dance classes, the sequences are usually as follows: clothes changing, warm-up, dancing, clothes changing, dismissal.
Likewise, in birthday parties, the sequences always repeat as follows: dancing, potluck, lottery drawing, dancing, mahjong and karaoke time.
As a voluntary Discourse, Fit Dance Studio is goal-directed. Participants join to learn how to dance along with different songs and exercise. Students are happy when they are able to master a dance. So when majority of the members master the designated songs, they feel good. They also enjoy the learning process.
Social relationship, instead of autonomous individuals, is found to be the basis of the group. Members are not free and equal in this community as dance tutors have the knowledge and skill, which is the source of power in the community, to give students tutorials. They are considered the most valuable group. Nonetheless, when members have argument, which seldom happens, there is always someone to help resolve the problems. So group harmony is a core value of the community.
Relationships, Face and Power
The knowledge and skill dance tutors possess highly shape the relationship between them and other students. With the presence of this power, hierarchical face system is widely used. Dance tutors address students by first names and students address the dance tutors as ‘mis si’, which means Miss, a rather distant form of address. This hierarchical structure works in both dance classes and parties. With this hierarchical relationships, dance tutors, who are in the higher position, always...
References: Scollon, R., Scollon, S. W. & Jones, R. (2012). Intercultural Communication: a discourse approach. West Sussex, United Kingdom: Wiley-Blackwell.
Jones, R. (2012) Discourse analysis: A resource book for students. London: Routledge.
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