Scott, Tony. “Writing Enacts and Creates Identities and Ideologies”

Scott, Tony. “Writing Enacts and Creates Identities and Ideologies.” Naming What We Know: Threshold Concepts of Writing Studies. Eds. Linda Adler-Kassner and Elizabeth Wardle. Logan: Utah State UP, 2015. Print.

Scott casts writing as “ideological enactment,” highlighting the social implications of the practice. He points to the burden of writing educators to remain cognizant of assumptions and their pedagogical impact.


Ideology, Worldview, Culture, Social, Identity, Power, Tension


Bakhtin, M.M. . 1986. Speech Genres and Other Late Essays. Austin: University of Texas Press.

Gee, James Paul. 2008. Social Linguistics and Literacies: Ideology in Discourse. 3rd ed. New York: Routledge.

Vygotsky, L. S. 1978. Mind in Society: The Development of Higher Psychological Processes. Cambridge: Harvard University Press.


We make sense of the world around us through the ideologies to which we have been exposed and conditioned (48).

Writing is always ideological because discourses and instances of language use do not exist independently from cultures and their ideologies (48).

… literacy is always in some way involved in the negotiation of identities and ideologies in specific social situations (48).

Writers are not separate from their writing and they don’t just quickly and seamlessly adapt to new situations. Rather they are socialized, changed, through their writing in new environments, and these changes can have deep implications (49).

As ideological activity, writing is deeply involved in struggles over power, the formation of identities, and the negotiation, perpetuation, and contestation of belief systems (49).


Is it possible to teach writing without “apprenticing” students ideologically? Can we remain neutral, encouraging students to broaden their own world view through self-sponsorship? What would this mean for assessment and instructor training? And (while I am not of the mind that writing instruction is in service of other disciplines) do we do our first-year students a disservice if we do not “apprentice” them into academic discourse – particularly the students who have little to no experience with writing for the academy? How do we balance honoring the students’ lifeworlds/worldviews with preparing them for the conventions/expectations of the academy?

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