Date of Award

Spring 5-2017

Document Type

Dissertation

Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)

Department

English

First Advisor

Gian S. Pagnucci, Ph.D.

Second Advisor

Gloria Park, Ph.D.

Third Advisor

Daniel J. Weinstein, Ph.D.

Abstract

This phenomenological study about extracurricular writing relationships is comprised of a collection of stories told through epistles, written notes and interviews. My story is also woven into this study in the form of reflections. This study explores and describes what it’s like to write in an out-of-school writing relationship. It also illuminates the nature of how writing as a particular literacy practice and lived sociocultural event was experienced within relationships fostered and co-constructed outside of school—within the extracurricular. The phenomenological framework used to interpret this data carries a set of assumptions about how to understand the world. It privileges description over analysis, and narrative as a means to understand.

Thus, the themes identified that best address the research questions are broad observations about extracurricular writing relationships; they stem from observation and analysis of both transcript data and the writings shared between the couples that are thematic of the experience of writing within an extracurricular writing relationship. Indeed, this study has found that stories, co-constructed by the couples themselves, both in writing and through oral story, have taught us that in some extracurricular writing relationships proximity plays an important role; a lack of proximity allocates more time and “abstract” space for intimacy; writing to a partner is fun, enjoyable, and brings happiness both to the writer and to the receiver of the writing; the content, tone, and purpose of the writing shifts as the relationship changes through time; individuals within the writing relationship have had experiences outside the relationship with writing, and these experiences were positive and/or instructive; routines occur that revolve around writing; rites of passage within the relationship can cause a shift in the amount of writing that takes place; and, writing fortifies the relationship, even if the amount and type of writing evolves through time. Also learned is that shared writing between members in an extracurricular writing relationship can be best described as relationship-oriented, reflective, benevolent, amusing, and/or everyday.

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Rhetoric Commons

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