A Discourse Community and Cosmetology
To some people a cosmetologist may not have the perfect job. However they have been around for centuries. Cosmetologists didn’t have the name they have today, but they date back to Ancient Egypt, China, Rome, and Greece. Every culture has incorporated beauty into their everyday lifestyle. The field of cosmetology is somewhat of a more broader field than others. Cosmetologists can decide to style hair or he/she can chose to incorporate hair, skin, and nails all together. Whatever he/she decides they could most likely get a job anywhere in the world whether it be a celebrity stylist or a small town hairdresser. While a student in a Comp 1 class we had an assignment to read John Swales’ Six Characteristics of a Discourse Community, and after reading it, I realized that in the field of cosmetology we have a few of the main characteristics of a discourse community. We have clear goals, a particular lexis, intercommunication, and certain genres that are used daily in the hair industry.
As a cosmetologist at Supercuts # 80201 I needed to find out if we were in fact a discourse community. So in between our busy hours I was able to get a copy of the textual ways of communication. A few of the things I got were color cards, waxing cards, price list, permission slip, schedule, and a business card. I was able to get an interview with Michele Yancey the manager of Supercuts # 80201. I asked her a series of about fifteen questions. I concluded that she was a more experienced cosmetologist and she would be able to take on any challenging task that occurred in the salon. I was also able to observe a fellow co-worker Brandie Fenelon to be a witness of someone practicing great customer service.
After observing the salon atmosphere I saw that Supercuts # 80201 has all six characteristics of a discourse community. However my research will only cover four of the six characteristics. First, Supercuts # 80201 has a broadly agreed upon set of goals that are also the goals of Peak Management, the franchise owner of Supercuts # 80201. Some of the goals that I found are keeping the clients happy at all time with a minimal wait time. Meaning that the manager is to schedule enough stylist for every shift. Another shared goal is to make sure every client gets to experience the 360* cut. Which includes offering a shampoo after the cut and recommend products to take home and “Rock the Cut”. Another shared goal would be great customer service. Upon observing Brandie Fenelon, my co-worker at Supercuts # 80201, she demonstrated the way one should show great customer service. As the client walked thru the door she greeted him with a smile, asked for his name, added him into the computer, introduced herself, showed him to his seat, and discussed what service she was going to perform that day. When the client left he was pleased with the 360* service he received. Another shared goal is a fulfilling clientele. Without a large clientele we wouldn’t have the funds to run an efficient salon/business, and pay for the supplies that are needed to color someone’s hair or wax someone’s lip or brows.
Second, Supercuts # 80201 has certain textual genres. Besides verbally communicating with each other the cosmetologists at Supercuts # 80201 have a few things that have to be done before a color or a waxing service. Before either service the client has to fill out a questionnaire, then the cosmetologist reads over the information to make sure that it is safe to perform the service requested. These cards are kept in case the client doesn’t sue for malpractice. They are also kept as a record of their history, what the exact color was/is or what they got waxed, and the outcome of the service. Instead of the client getting frustrated we can pull the card and they can initial every time they get a service that requires a signature. The cards also act as a quote for the client making sure the...
Cited: Swales, John. "The Concept of Discourse Community." Writing about Writing: A College Reader. By Elizabeth Wardle and Doug Downs. Boston: Bedford/St. Martins, 2011. 468-79. Print.
Johns, Ann M. "Discourse Communities and Communities of Practice: Membership, Conflict, and Diversity." Text, Role, and Context: Developing Academic Literacies. Cambridge: Cambridge UP, 1997. 500-01. Print.
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