The Army and the Academy as Textual Communities: Exploring Mismatches in the Concepts of Attribution, Appropriation, and Shared Goals
MILITARY ACADEMY WEST POINT NY
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In this article, we will analyze the social and authorial assumptions informing the processes and functions of writing in the U.S. Army. From the perspective of contextually and socially based theories of language, understandings of intellectual property in the Army differ from those commonly taught in the schools including military academies and generally assumed in public conceptions of authorship. We will briefly describe the processes used to write such documents as field manuals, standard operating procedures SOPs, and policies--texts that are often recycled, repurposed, and appropriated without the need for individual authorial attribution. In our analysis, we will show that the acceptable absence of attribution is justified by the purpose of the communication what if anything the author will receive, materially or reputationally, from the text and how the text contributes to communal goals Adler-Kassner, Anson, Howard, 2008. Our analysis of much of the routine text produced in the Army demonstrates its highly functional view of attribution and source use, where the presence or absence of attribution is equated less with moral behavior than with getting jobs done effectively and efficiently in support of carefully articulated goals.
- Military Forces and Organizations