Analysis of Gee’s Claims

“Dominant discourses are the mastery of which, at a particular place and time, brings with it social goods such as money, prestige, and status. It’s imperative to understand the difference between dominant and non-dominant discourses. Non-dominant discourses are what bring solidarity with a particular social network” (Gee 8). Gee emphasizes the different mechanisms through which one can enter a discourse, in the path of life. In doing so, he develops a way of categorizing discourses as either primary or secondary discourses. A primary discourse is one that we at the primary social areas, like at home, while secondary discourses are those we adopt when we begin to socialize with groups outside our primary setting. He explains that these two types of discourses are gotten at different times in life, and they influence how one socializes outside of their usual environment and with different people.

Gee further emphasizes that for one to join a discourse, they must first understand the whole idea within the specific conversation they are participating. As pointed had been out earlier, he describes the different ways of joining a discourse, and one is through apprenticeships. Apprentices are people who are taken in by people of the secondary discourse and been shown the ropes and ideas that they all share (Hennessey). Apprentices understand “not just ways of talking, but ways of talking, acting, thinking and valuing” (Gee. 10). According to Gee, this helps the apprentices to adopt the discourse fully, and not look like pretenders. A research study carried out before writing this paper proves Gee’s assertions. The research was carried out on a gaming community in Los Angeles. More specifically, the study focused on a FIFA playing community. The most notable value about the community was the use of ridicule. The study provided evidence that only a person who is well acquainted with that kind of contempt can manage to live among that society. For an outsider to join that community and to fit in well, they had to adopt high self-esteem, which is a dominant characteristic of the community, especially in the tournament, which are worth money and prizes.

Different discourses have different values, beliefs, and ideas. This is what brings a sense of belonging in any particular dialogue. That is, you cannot be a member of a discourse unless you possess the primary values of the discourse, and understand their beliefs and values properly. According to Gee, this always prompts a test by the native members of the discourse. They want to see if the potential member possesses them and understands what they stand for, or he/she wants to join the group for the sake of it. The study on the Play Station FIFA playing community also proved this aspect of joining discourses. Whenever a new person came to join the group, they would hand him the gaming pad to test if the person is well acquainted with how it operated, and some of its functions. An observation was also made that they would be prompted into a friendly match with the poorest member of the discourse. In most cases, they would fail and would automatically not fit into the discourse.