The communities that we live in shape our thinking in many ways without us even noticing. People commonly write about their opinions or personal predilections but the society that surrounds us is a big factor on the voices we project to state those views. This is true in morality and ethics as well, socialization affect our sentiments on topics; issues that arise that are being spoken on are problems that occur within the community or society as whole. Therefore, you are no longer just speaking for yourself anymore but everyone that lives in that community too. Harris and Bartholomae struck this argument in regards to discourse being both communal but private.
In a community, there are going to be issues that need to be discussed and only members of that community can relate to one another on the specific topic. An example of that is food deserts within urban areas or ghettos: food deserts are where there are no sources of fresh veggies, meat, and fruit for a certain amount of distance. This is a communal problem in many places but the people in these communities that are suffering are the ones who can share this situation. If a writer were to come along to draw attention to the concern, he would not only be speaking for himself but those in that community too. These thoughts are not privatized but now a common thought amongst all these inhabitants in communal sense. Lingo becomes another important portion of this discussion because that is also a shared quality of a discourse community; the certain lexis used shows that the writing could be meant for those members of local groups.
The problem lies where the overlapping happens because people are not just members of one community, usually they coexist in other communities as well. When speaking, they aren’t just speaking for that one community anymore but every single community they’re apart of is represented through this text. Again the problem is that each of these discourse communities have their own concerns and beliefs thus red tape becomes the issue. Whenever you speak, you’re combining several ways of thinking that you adopted throughout your time in several of these discourse communities.
The idea that you belong to several discourse communities whether it’s an academic setting or some other type is enforced by Harris and Bartholomae but the specificity is of the idea is a bit harsher when it’s defined by Swales. Although you can write a piece outside the classroom setting, you’re still in some way using an academic style of writing that you learned. Barthes, Harris, Bartholomae, and Swales have very similarly composed ideals of what a discourse community is but Swales defines his and emphasizes the six characteristics which make a discourse community.