A Multi-layered Discourse Community: Defining Biotechnology and Environmental Engineering Discourse Communities at SUT

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Issra Pramoolsook


The concept of discourse community plays a significant role in genre study research. Understanding it thoroughly will result in a clearer and more insightful perception about genre creation and utilization in that particular discourse community. In this analytical review article, the concept is discussed in order that in the future it can be a basis for a genre analysis study on dissertations and research articles, the two key genres for postgraduate students nowadays. After a summary of the criteria for identifying a discourse community, two disciplinary groups at Suranaree University of Technology—Biotechnology and Environmental Engineering—are used as examples to confirm their status as two different discourse communities. The discussion describes how these two disciplines operate within a multi-layered discourse community inside and outside the university context with different interactions from one layer to another. To conclude, the discussion leads to a benefit that a good understanding about the concept yields in genre analyses of dissertations and research articles and the study of genre transfer.


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