A Discursive Approach to Skillful Activity Academic Article uri icon


  • We propose a discursive approach for exploring how practitioners intelligently respond and create a sense of coherence in their linguistic practice. A discursive approach to skillful activity is able to account for the role of meaning making in conversation, address how communication constructs the context in which skillful activity originates, and recognize the co-created flavor of skillful practice. We offer an account of skillful linguistic performance that turns on practitioners acting with sensibility by paying close attention to the reflexive relationships among: (a) moral-aesthetic commitments; (b) conversational abilities in the form of utterances, methods, and techniques; (c) practical reasoning and the process of invention; and (d) context. We conclude by exploring the implications of a discursive approach for meaning making, identity construction, and managing the tensions emerging from different traditions or communities of practice. 2008 International Communication Association.

published proceedings


author list (cited authors)

  • Barge, J. K., & Little, M.

citation count

  • 24

complete list of authors

  • Barge, J Kevin||Little, Martin

publication date

  • November 2008