Intermediary genre

As introduced by Tachino (2012), an intermediary genre is “a genre that facilitates the ‘uptake’ (Freadman, 2002) of a genre by another genre,” a genre that “can be used to connect and mobilize two otherwise unconnected genres to make uptake possible” (p. 456). Tachino’s approach to intermediary genres functions to “contribute to our understanding of how multiple genres relate and interact through uptake; at the same time, it should also help us understand what constellation of strategies is at one’s disposal in influencing uptake, thus shedding light to the nature of rhetorical agency” (p. 458).


Tachino, T. (2012) Theorizing Uptake and Knowledge Mobilization: A Case for Intermediary Genre. Written Communication 29(4): 455-476.


For Tachino (2012), the preliminary hearing at the Sophonow Inquiry (“a Canadian public inquiry in response to the wrongful conviction of Thomas Sophonow”) was an intermediary genre whose function was “specifically to facilitate knowledge uptake from other sources [including research articles, popular media, and legal and historical documents] into the commission report” (p. 466). As intermediary genre, this preliminary hearing served as “a relatively stable site of negotiations between the research knowledge that originated elsewhere and the judicial knowledge that is inscribed in the rules and regulations embodied by the commissioner and the counsels” (p. 465).

Other Notable Uses: 

*Note: the following sources use alternate or variant (or unspecified) definitions of the phrase “intermediary genre,” to indicate genres “in between” or overlapping others in various sites including form poetry, short fiction, and flute concertos.

Feher, F. (1985). Lukács and Benjamin: Parallels and Contrasts. New German Critique, 34, 125-138

Ferris, I. (2006). Antiquarian authorship: D'israeli's miscellany of literary curiosity and the question of secondary genres. Studies in Romanticism, 45(4), 523-542,653

Genette, G. & McIntosh, A.G. (1988). The Proustian Paratexte. SubStance, 17(2), 63-77

Gillespie, M. (1998). [Review of Cassette Culture: Popular Music and Technology in North India by P. Manuel]. American Ethnologist, 25(1), 85-87

Golburt, L. (2006). Derzhavin's Ruins and the Birth of Historical Elegy. Slavic Review, 65(4), 670-693

Gruber, H. (1997). E-mail discussion lists: A new genre of scholarly communication? Wiener Linguistische Gazette, 60-61, 24-41

Lang, P.H. (1961). [Review of the book Vivaldi: Concertos and Chamber Music by New York Sinfonietta, M, Goberman & Vivaldi]. The Musical Quarterly, 47(4), 565-575

Taha, I. (2000). The Modern Arabic Very Short Story: A Generic Approach. Journal of Arabic Literature, 31(1), 59-84

Tallack, D. (1985). American Short Fiction: A Bibliographical Essay. American Studies International, 23(2), 3-59

Wolf, R. K. (2001). Emotional Dimensions of Ritual Music among the Kotas, a South Indian Tribe. Ethnomusicology, 45(3), 379-422

Original Use: 

In his review of the Bibliography of Slavic Folk Literature, Jakobson uses the term “intermediary genre” to characterize Harkins’ classification of folklore genres and the difficulty of categorizing genres that “overlap the borders” of traditional definitional categories (p. 107). Although this is technically the original use of the phrase, he does not use the term in a similar way to Tachino (2012), instead using it to describe a genre “in the middle of” others or “overlapping” others, rather than a genre mediating the successful uptake of another.


Jakobson, S. P. (1954). [Review of the book Bibliography of Slavic Folk Literature by William E. Harkins]. Midwest Folklore, 4(2), 107-113

Contributed by: 

Rachel Gramer, as part of Dr. Carolyn R. Miller's Emerging Genres course, Fall 2013, University of Louisville

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