Bazerman's "Genre and Identity: Citizenship in the Age of the Internet..."

Bazerman, Charles. "Genre and Identity: Citizenship in the Age of the Internet and the Age of Global Capitalism." The Rhetoric and Ideology of Genre, edited by Richard Coe, Lorelei Lingard, and Tatiana Teslenko, Hampton Press, 2002, pp. 13-37.

Bazerman connects genre and identity by explaining that people will adopt an identity, or frame of mind, in accordance with the expectations of a familiar and generic social situation (13). This identity may shift depending on setting, but the more time one spends in a setting, the more connected and "committed to the identity" a person becomes there (14). Bazerman gives the example of how we become taxpayers while we participate in the genre of paying taxes, and as we participate in other financial interactions related to the government (14-15). Bazerman also references his earlier work, in which he described how Thomas Edison used an developed the genres of his time to form his identity as an innovator and "American folk hero" (16).

Bazerman then describes how Adam Smith's An Inquiry into the Wealth of Nations formulated a social capitalist identity by creating an economic form of life that produced a type of social order that then excluded or marginalized other motives of social action; the marketplace reduced a social understanding of sympathy as a guiding principle to social life, and instead offered trade as the best way to come together, involving the setting of prices in easily understandable monetary terms (18-19). Next, Bazerman moves onto how the idea of citizenship is constructed from on a capitalist basis connected to the relationship between money, politics, and the increasing genres of political discourse with the rise of print culture (20-24). 

Bazerman examines how cultural identities form within political parties, how the genre of voting (and the introduction of the secret ballot) have participated in how citizens view themselves and their role in relation to government (25-26). Finally, Bazerman analyzes how online political platforms disseminate opinions and seek donations through rhetorical moves that echo the antecedent genre of newspapers and magazines (30-31). Overall, Bazerman's examination investigates how genres are a factor in constructing the identities of those who perform them. 

Genre, RhetoricKatie Ancheta