Genre chains

A succession of genres ordered in a particular chronological sequence in which one genre is often a necessary antecedent to another. Such sequences can be used as a planning tool for discourse communities familiar with each genre. Genre chains represent one kind of relationship within Swales' (2004) "constellations of genres."


Swales, J. M. (2004). Research genres: Explorations and applications. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.


An invitation to speak at an academic colloquium, an acceptance, the presentation itself, associated slides and/or handouts, a thank-you letter (possibly enclosing a check) (Swales, 2004).   The mobi news chain in Eastern Europe: Beginning with a journalist's call for news (one sentence), a news item is then posted on a website with written text and photographs, followed by citizen journalists adding their own information to the site. The genre chain ends when the online news information is feat

Other Notable Uses: 

Fairclough, N. (2003). Discourse analysis. London: Routledge.

Erjavec, K. & Kovacic, M.P. (2009). A discursive approach to genre: Mobi news. European Journal of Communication 24(2): 147-164.  

Original Use: 

Swales, J. M. (1996). Occluded genres in the academy: The case of the submission letter. In  E. Vantola & A. Mauranen (Eds.), Academic writing: Intercultural and textual issues. Amsterdam: John Benjamins, 45-58.

Contributed by: 

Emerging Genres class, N.C. State University, Spring 2010

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