Across Property Lines: Textual Ownership in Writing Groups by Candace Spigelman

By Candace Spigelman

Candace Spigelman investigates the dynamics of possession in small staff writing workshops, basing her findings on case reviews regarding teams: a five-member artistic writing crew assembly per thirty days at a neighborhood Philadelphia espresso bar and a four-member college-level writing staff assembly of their composition lecture room. She explores the connection among specific notions of highbrow estate inside of each one team in addition to the effectiveness of writing teams that embody those notions. Addressing the negotiations among the private and non-private domain names of writing inside of those teams, she discovers that for either the dedicated writers and the newcomers, “values linked to textual possession play a very important position in writing crew performance.”


Spigelman discusses textual possession, highbrow estate, and writing workforce tactics after which studies theories in terms of authorship and data making. After introducing the members in every one team, discussing their texts, and describing their workshop classes, she examines the writers’ avowed and implied ideals approximately replacing rules and preserving person estate rights.


Spigelman stresses the mandatory stress among person and social elements of writing practices: She argues for the necessity to foster extra collaborative job between scholar writers by means of replicating the methods of writers operating in nonacademic settings but additionally contends that every one writers needs to be allowed to visualize their person company and authority as they compose. 

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Extra info for Across Property Lines: Textual Ownership in Writing Groups

Sample text

In the Franklin Writing Group, members responded as readers, not as teachers, to texts imbued from the start with attributed authority. Although the writers had differing schedules and plans for making use of group feedback, all intended to incorporate their peers’ suggestions as they revised their materials. The group’s practices and writers’ plans for revision re®ected a dynamic relationship between public and private ownership grounded in a high degree of con¤dence in their roles as quali¤ed writers and in their peers as capable readers.

In some college workshops, students share their essays with writers they have never met, students from other courses or even from other universities across the country. Online writing groups raise new and interesting questions about group dynamics and about issues relating to intellectual property: Without face-toface contact, can con¤dence in members be developed and sustained? Will writers trust each other? Will readers have suf¤cient commitment to provide invested responses? How is ownership affected when the entire text is “at hand”?

This was one of the central ways in which members took provisional ownership of a manuscript that they had not written: supplying reasons for changes that they would make if the text were truly theirs or placing themselves in the role of writer to explain the rhetorical grounds for rejecting a fellow reader’s suggestion. All in all, the workshop sessions revealed an impressive amount of give-and-take, including praise for literary merit and constructive criticism that undertook to clarify issues and resolve inconsistencies.

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