Weekly Roundup: Week 10- Identity

Timothy Borchers states: “Our conception of what it means to be human is constantly shifting because the categories we use to create and establish identities are constantly shifting.  There is no essence to our identity.  Foucault adds that discourse and disciplinary practices create certain kinds of beings” (Borchers 303)

Essentially, “what it means to be human has varied over time” (293).  Applied to my personal life I can see that my experience as a Canadian is vastly different than the experience held by Canadians years ago!  While my experience differs from past generations of Canadians many core values have remained unchanged.

What categories create our identity as postmodern Canadians?

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In visiting friends in the southern states I was able to gain perspective on what makes up my identity as a Canadian (both from differences I observed and observations they made).  My little Canadian-isms that came second nature to me were foreign to them, which leads me to believe that I act the way I do because of the rhetoric that has been taught to me.  I was born a Canadian and subsequently trained to be one.  This is seen in my core cultural values all the way to more simple and non-consequential things (like word pronunciations).

One thing I know for sure is, I am proud to be part of a nation that has core values that honour and respect all people!


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We VALUE the world around us

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Borchers, Timothy A. Rhetorical Theory: An Introduction. Long Grove, IL: Waveland, 2011. Print.


In-Class Reflection: Postmodernism

The following is from a slide from English 4300 on July 6, 2016.

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We are Very 2016— We are a product of our generation and the rhetoric that has been taught to us.

In discussion of Michel Foucault we discussed the case of a young girl who had to go to the bathroom while on an airplane.  Because the rule says that passengers must remain in their seats when the remain seated light is on.  The little girl ended up peeing on her airplane seat.  Her mother (along with other passengers) were outraged that the little girl was not permitted to use the washroom.

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The full story can be read here.

The modern perspective says: The rule serves the fast majority and therefore can not be changed.

The postmodern perspective says: Anti-burocracy and there are exceptions to rules.

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Is the above image the final word on whether or not a small child can use the bathroom?  Why do airlines have rules?  Should there be exceptions to these rules?
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In consideration of the story and all the factors, it would seem that the child was unjustly held to a rule.  To allow her to be above the “law” and go to the bathroom would have been inconsequential to everyone involved.  Safety would not be put at risk by getting up.   The only risk was a herd mentality of thinking.  If the child can go to the washroom, then why can’t everyone.  To say that she can bend the rule is to say that everyone can– which defeats the purpose of having the rule in the first place.  But really?  As humans we have the ability to put the needs of others into consideration.  We are capable of seeing the value in allowing some to bend the rules while staying within them ourselves.  Sometimes “fair” is not equal.  Fair is ensuring everyones needs are met.

I think that rules are put in place and expected to be followed.  But (as a postmodernist) I believe that rules need to be evaluated and adjusted as seen fit.  There needs to be flexibility and understanding.  There is no question in my mind, the flight attendant should have let the young child go to the washroom.  The purpose of the rule was to ensure safety and order.  Safety and order were not jeopardized by allowing her to go to the bathroom.

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Practicum Update: Week 10 – UGM Visit

Jenn and I visited the Union Gospel Mission (UGM).  


We felt a visit was necessary after a conversation we had with a representative of the WISH centre.  Both Jenn and I were shocked to hear that the UGM does not condone harm reduction methods.  They do not support or hand out condoms and clean needles.  Having learned the benefits of harm reduction we could not believe that any organization would reject its benefits (religious or not).  We did not intend to argue the benefits of harm reduction; we merely wanted to hear what UGM had to say and to learn about the AMAZING services they offer.

There are two sides to every story.

We half expected to hear that WISH was misinformed; however, they were not.  UGM does not offer harm reduction.

With reflection it is evident that harm reduction would not be beneficial in the outplaying of their vision, mission and goals.  The UGM and WISH can not be compared because they offer two very different services.  Their target demographic is different.  WISH and UGM function in different roles in society.  Both roles are necessary.

The Union Gospel Mission is meeting people where they are at and are providing resources for change.  Organizations like WISH keep people alive so that they are able to one day utilize resources like UGM.

As is found on their website, the mission statement of UGM is: Screen Shot 2016-07-06 at 12.24.40 PM.png

As is found on their website, they offer the following services:

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More details about these services can be found here. 

To advocate for and support harm reduction would be spreading themselves to thin.  They cannot be all things to all people.

While at the site we were blown away by the care and support shown by each volunteer and employee!  They genuinely care for everyone who walks through their doors.

There is thought and reason for everything they do.  For instance, recently they decided to switch their main meal from dinner to breakfast.  The reason for this is the potential the morning brings compared to the potential the night brings.  They found that dinner meals enabled people to face the night with the full stomach (which the local police argued increased crime).  Breakfast meals enable volunteers to encourage and point people to supports during the day.  When an individual is hungry they are not able to effectively think through the possibility of change.

Recently the centre started construction in their basement.  They will have a room where local organizations and supports can set up tables and information.  Staff can then direct people (who request it) to this room to speak with representatives about options.

In visiting the UGM I was spurred on to consider the possibility of taking some youth kids I work with down to volunteer.  The UGM does not simply look for people to come give of their time.  They seek to educate their volunteers on the facts of poverty and homelessness.  Therefore, volunteering is not only beneficial for the organization – it is extremely beneficial to the volunteer.


Weekly Roundup: Week 9-Discursive Practices

In Rhetorical Theory Timothy Borchers explains DISCURSIVE PRACTICES and the rules, roles and power that accompany them.

Discursive practices “refers to the discourse that, because it follows particular rules or has passed appropriate tests, is understood to be true in culture” (Borchers 287)

He presents the following table: FullSizeRender-1.jpg

Borchers then goes on to apply the theory of discursive practice to Disneyland (290-1).  The rules, roles and power that function throughout Disneyland function in such away that they shape the experience had by the visitor (290-1).  Furthermore, the discursive practice that takes place at Disneyland impact the way in which the visitor is permitted to interact with he park (291).

Discursive rules, roles and practices result in predictability and trust.  The consumer is able to trust that the product is always the same.  When someone walks through the gates of Disney it is guaranteed that employees will appear and act in a certain manner.  There is wholesome fun and respect throughout the park.  The discursive practice results in Disneyland being known as the happiest place on earth.

When organizations lack discursive rules the result is a product that is not dependable and therefore can not be trusted as true.  An example of a system that lacks effective discursive practice is Facebook.

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When applied to the above table one can see that Facebook does not qualify as trusted discursive system:

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With consideration of the various aspects of discursive practice it is evident that Facebook does not rule or govern its user in such a way that structure and truth is guaranteed.  The validity of information shared is dependent on the person who chooses to share it.  Unlike Disneyland, Facebook carries no guarantee.  When you log on there is no telling what you will encounter.  There is potential for uplifting, truthful and interesting information– however, with this possibility is the risk of false information, criticism and offensive content.


Borchers, Timothy A. Rhetorical Theory: An Introduction. Long Grove, IL: Waveland, 2011. Print.





In-Class Reflection: June 29, 2016

The following is a portion of our class notes in English 4300 on June 29, 2016:

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In considering the 8 word principle, Greg instructed the class to critically analyze a sample of personal writing.  I pulled up a paper that I wrote for Kim Larsen’s English 3336 class (Spring 2016).  I was surprised to learn that my word count spanned from 15 to 45 words.

My paragraph structure looks something like this:

24 words

15 words

30 words

15 words

17 words

15 words

23 words

31 words

45 words

The following is a visual representation of the sentences in my paragraph: 

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The paragraph that I chose to evaluate was an introduction paragraph to one of my Victorian Literature papers from English 3336.  Within this paper I compared two characters and their differing roles within the novel.

According to the 8- word principle: 

3/9 sentences are 90% understandable

1/9 sentences are 85% understandable

2/9 sentences are between 50-80% understandable

3/9 sentences are less than 50% understandable

I do think that variety in sentence length adds to the complexity of a educational paper; however, to much complexity results in a decrease in eloquence.  The purpose of an educational paper is to convey a message or argue a point.  It is imperative to use the most effective use of communication in the presentation of the argument.  The most effective type of communication is the type of communication that is most understandable.  Therefore, sentence length is a crucial element to consider when editing ones writing.

With this knowledge in mind, what changes do I need to make in my approach to educational writing?

  1. I need to be more concise in my writing
  2. I need to use periods to break up and break down thoughts
  3. I need to ensure that every word within my sentence contributes to the main point of the sentence


Over the past few weeks Jenn and I have been compiling information on various social justice organizations in the lower mainland.

The following is the information we found on a few key organizations:

Vulnerable Girls and Women Working Group

The Vulnerable Girls and Women Working Group (VGWWG) of Surrey, BC is a research based multi-organization based community that functions to bring awareness to the needs of Surrey’s most at-risk females.

VGWWG was founded in 2013 and takes a proactive approach to helping the women of Surrey.  They partner with Elizabeth Fry Society, Options Community Resources Society, Pacific Community Resources Society, Servants Anonymous Society, Atira Women’s Resource Centre, YWCA, Surrey Women’s Centre, Fraser Health, BC Housing and the City of Surrey.

The project is funded by the Surrey Homelessness and Housing Society.

The project’s findings were based on information provided from 50 women and youth and 12 service providers and data was collected between 2014-2015.

The final report (“In Their Own Words”) is available on the VGWWG website


The Union Gospel Mission

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The Union Gospel Mission (UGM) is a faith based organization that is devoted to “Demonstrating the love of Christ [and] is determined to transform communities by overcoming poverty, homelessness, and addiction – one life at time” (UGM)

Union Gospel Mission has multiple resources:

  1. Gateway: a program that targets individuals in the midst of addiction and struggle. Gateway offers a safe place to sleep and daily meetings with UGM staff where attainable goals are set.
  2. Meals: UGM offers hot meals 365 days a year.  Meals provide nourishment, community and open up the door for conversation about recovery.
  3. Cornerstone: The goal of cornerstone is to transform lives through a range of supports and services. They host movie night, chapel and games nights.  They also give out warm jackets and hot coffee.  Cornerstone provides an opportunity to build relationships.
  4. Mobile Mission: The rescue vehicle of UGM serves people where they are at and provides warm clothing and nourishment.
  5. Children’s Outreach: UGM has a team of people that serve the women and children of the region. They provide space to play, learn and grow.  They have an afterschool program, summer camp and offer multiple supports to families in need.
  6. Shelter and Housing: UGM connects individuals with housing options and practical supports to assist individuals in need.
  7. Recovery: The UGM offers multiple supports in addiction recovery. They have housing, employment services, counselling and workshops.


Elizabeth Fry Society

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 EFry of Greater Vancouver works to provide support to society’s most vulnerable.  They have more than 24 programs of advocacy.

“At Efry, [they] believe every life has value.  All people are entitled to dignity and respect.  And everyone has a right to belong.  For over 70 years that has been [their] legacy. And [their] promise” (EFry)

Support programs target:

  1. At risk women
  2. At risk children and families
  3. Women facing the Justice system
  4. Children and families facing the justice system
  5. Women seeking recovery and transition
  6. Children and families seeking recovery and transition


Surrey Women’s Society

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“Surrey Women’s Centre offers a wide range of Crisis, Court and Counselling services to victims of domestic violence, sexual assault, child abuse and other forms of family violence” (SWC)

Services include:

  1. The Surrey Mobile Assault Response Team (SMART): a 24-hour crisis support resource. The SMART team partners with Surrey Memorial Hospital and offers over the phone and face to face support for women who have experienced sexual violence.  They support women to find safe shelter, hospital treatment and access to police reporting.  Women seeking help can call 604-583-1294.
  2. Crisis Service: SWC conducts risk assessments and aid women in finding support. Women can contact the SWC for bad-date reporting and police accompaniment support.
  3. Court Services: SWC offers women support in navigating the legal system. They help victims to know and understand their rights.
  4. Counseling: Group and individual counseling is available through SWC.
  5. Supports: Women can contact SWC for clothing, food and shelter.


Living in Community

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“Living in Community (LIC) is an innovative community initiative that works to find solutions to the impact of sex work and youth sexual exploitation on communities and to reduce the harms and isolation that sex workers experience.” (LIC)

LIC works to foster collaboration between various organization in the Greater Vancouver region.

They offer support in:

  1. Training
  2. Civil Engagement

Warm Zone

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“The Warm Zone is a drop in facility for street engaged women. There women will find a full bathroom, laundry facilities, lockers, clothing and personal care items, internet, telephone (including long distance), a kitchen stocked with drinks and snacks, a hot meal each Monday and Wednesday from 4:30 – 6:30pm, support workers and counsellors, access to medical and legal services, a monthly HIV clinic, a foot care clinic, pre-employment readiness support, advocacy, pregnancy support and help with obtaining emergency and stable housing. The Warm Zone also helps women who are living and working on the streets develop personal safety plans” (Warm Zone)

The Warm Zone offers:

1.      Full Bathroom

2.     Laundry

3.     Lockers

4.     Clothing

5.     Personal Care Items

6.     Internet/Phone

7.     Food (including hot meals)

8.     Counselling

9.     Access to medical and legal service

10.  Monthly HIV Clinic

11.  Pre-employment

12.  Advocacy

13.  Pregnancy Support

14.  Safety Plans


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“ANKORS’ mission is to respond to the evolving needs of those living with and affected by HIV/AIDS, Hepatitis C and other blood borne pathogens; and to foster healthy, informed communities” (ANKORS)

ANKORS provides:

  1. Support and Advocacy
  2. Harm Reduction/Prevention/Education
  3. Person Centered Practice
  4. Partnership


Pregnancy Options Centre

“The Pregnancy Options Centre (formally Crisis Pregnancy Centre of Surrey) has been serving the communities of Surrey, Langley and Delta since 1985. We offer a compassionate listening ear and information to women who are facing an unplanned pregnancy or who have had an abortion. We also assist families with adoption and parenting” (POC) 


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Canada’s only safe injection site, INSITE is a supervised and safe place for drug users to inject illicit drugs.

“Insite operates on a harm-reduction model, which means it strives to decrease the adverse health, social and economic consequences of drug use without requiring abstinence from drug use” (Vancouver Coastal Health) 

Night Shift

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Night Shift is a faith based organization that strives to connect people within the community.  They provide hot meals and community supports 365 days a year.

Each night between 7-8pm they hand out hot meals, clothing, blankets and care packages. The organization seeks to create relationships within the community.

They offer:

  1. Counselling support
  2. Education
  3. Art-Classes
  4. Support Groups
  5. Transitional Housing

Beneath the Sky 

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“Beneath One Sky is a non-profit student group based in Surrey and Vancouver, Canada, dedicated to the awareness of poverty locally and globally. Its members reach out to the underprivileged through fundraising and volunteer efforts. We welcome collaborations with other organizations and volunteers, hoping to expand our cause worldwide. We were formally known as Building For GK, as well as Building For Hope, and Building Homes For the Poor.” (BOS) 


United Way

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The United Way works both locally and Globally to “create opportunities for better life for everyone in our communities” (United Way)

They focus on:

  1. Poverty
  2. Health
  3. Children Advocacy


Drug War Survivors 

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is a group of users and former users who work to improve the lives of people who use illicit drugs through user-based peer support and education” (Drug War Survivors)





Weekly Round-Up: Week 8- Electronic Eloquence

In Rhetorical Theory Timothy Borchers talks about ELECTRONIC ELOQUENCE.  “Electronic eloquence, has, according to Jamieson, five characteristics: it is personalized, self- disclosive, conversational, synoptic, and visually dramatic” (Borchers 263).

Technological advancements have changed the avenue of rhetoric in society (263).  Rhetors are now able to reach the audience within the comfort of their own home.  The shift away from mass audience and grand scale venue has resulted in a change in communication goals (263-64).  Rhetors are no longer seeking to impress with long dialect “sparring,” rather they aim to create emotional and relational connection (264).

Electronic Eloquence is… 

PERSONALIZED: “Building intimacy with an audience is accomplished by using an individual to embody, or represent, the ideas of the rhetor’s message” (264).

SELF-DISCLOSIVE:  The Rhetor builds personal connection with the audience through self-disclosure (learning ones convictions and experiences aid in a deeper understanding of the speaker) (265)

CONVERSATIONAL: Words are chosen and spoken with the purpose of building relationship (266)

VERBAL DISTILLATION: “Rhetors do not use language to convey complex notions; instead they rely on short snippets of words to communicate their ideas” (266)

VISUAL DRAMATIZATION:  “Electronic eloquence is most effective when it combines words and images” (267)

Electronic Eloquence Applied:

TedTalk- Draw Your Future- Take Control of Your Life by Patti Dobrowolski

Personalized- Patti begins her speech by drawing on the personal.  She informs the audience that she had always wanted to go into business herself. She then proceeds to share the inner dialogue that is so common in all individuals.  She connects her personal with the personal of the audience.  Patti is the embodies her message and in doing so connects the audience to the message.

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Self-Disclosive- Patti does not shy away from sharing her own experience, which therefore gives her authority on the topic.

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Conversational- Patti’s entire talk is set as a conversation.  She draws the audience in and asks the audience to critically engage with the topic.  Her systematic construction of her speech directs the dialect to the audience in such a way that a response is warranted. For instance, she asks: “What dream or vision do you want to turn into a reality?”

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Verbal Distillation- While Patti does utilize lengthy portions of dialect she also utilizes short and powerful snippets of information.

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Visual Dramatization-  Patti’s talk is full of visual dramatization.  She effectively ties her message together with images so that her message is conveyed in a clear manner.


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Patti effectively embodies all that defines ELECTRONIC ELOQUENCE.


Borchers, Timothy A. Rhetorical Theory: An Introduction. Long Grove, IL: Waveland, 2011. Print.