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 experiences related to teams: a five-member inventive writing crew assembly per month at a neighborhood Philadelphia espresso bar and a four-member college-level writing crew assembly of their composition lecture room. She explores the connection among specific notions of highbrow estate inside each one team in addition to the effectiveness of writing teams that include 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 team performance.”


Spigelman discusses textual possession, highbrow estate, and writing workforce tactics after which reports theories with regards to authorship and data making. After introducing the contributors in every one workforce, discussing their texts, and describing their workshop classes, she examines the writers’ avowed and implied ideals approximately changing principles and preserving person estate rights.


Spigelman stresses the mandatory stress among person and social points 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 each one writers has to be allowed to visualize their person corporation and authority as they compose. 

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Extra resources for Across Property Lines: Textual Ownership in Writing Groups (Studies in Writing & Rhetoric (Paperback))

Example text

On occasion, they discussed basic ¤ction-writing principles. At one point, for example, Fay reminded Doug about the literary requirements of a ¤ctional text: Crossing Property Lines That’s where things differ from real life. I might understand that if you do something right now that doesn’t seem to have anything to do with what we are saying, I might understand why you did it. But when you write, you can’t do that. Your characters have to be very raw. You have to explain without explaining them, without being too descriptive.

But another part of the continuing dynamic of textual ownership involves its public side. Students do share in writing groups as often as they do not. They read their essays aloud, and often they appropriate sections of each other’s texts and re¤gure them in their own papers. This willingness to collaborate also comes out of an enduring, albeit unstable, conception of the product of the writer’s labor as at once his own and, under particular circumstances, open to appropriation by others. Writing groups illuminate a universal phenomenon: the dialectical tension between the private and public, between writers and readers, for ownership and control of the written text.

For the most part, those who own property can do what they want with it. . ” Because the act of writing involves the “constant interplay between audience and intention,” between writers’ meanings and readers’ expectations, Newkirk believes that the metaphor of ownership needs to be challenged rather than rei¤ed (“The First Five Minutes” 329). In response, Susan Wall argues that metaphors of personal voice, possession, and agency are the continued articulation of the still unful¤lled dream of economic and political access and power for both teachers and students at many levels of education.

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