A researcher (Schwebke), in collaboration with her supervisor (Medway), investigated the production and reception of a corpus of documentary exchanges in which condominium owners voiced their opposition to renovations proposed by their board of directors. During the course of the research, which included textual analysis, interviews with owners and management, and readings with disinterested outside parties, the texts became radically unsettled, changing their meaning with each fresh stage of the process. The social reality that underlay and was referred to by the texts became equally indeterminate. Encounters with both texts and everyday readers were pervasively intertextualized; each new conversation was felt to be conducted in the presence of a growing collection of eavesdroppers. The two sets of outside readers—a group of “ordinary folks” and an academic—became virtual participants in the ongoing construction of meaning, with academic and everyday perspectives merging in unusual combinations. The analysis draws on Bakhtinian and poststructuralist perspectives to elucidate this experience.

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Persistent URL dx.doi.org/10.1177/0741088301018003005
Journal Written Communication
Schwebke, L. (Linda), & Medway, P. (Peter). (2001). The Reader Written: Successive Constructions of Self and Text in Encounters with Everyday Writing. Written Communication, 18(3), 350–389. doi:10.1177/0741088301018003005