27 Disciplines as Social Communities

Shelby Chapman

Many people as students observe professors and teachers in high school and middle school as being a part of individual social groups, kind of like cliques. It was easiest to see in high school, the English teachers would gather together, and the social studies teachers especially without very much deviation from their groups. This was partially due to their classrooms being located so close together but also because of their shared disciplines. It never really came to mind that teachers of the same subject were together during the school day simply to discuss developments in their field; I just thought it worked out that they were friends. Looking back, it makes so much more sense that they were able to make lesson plans based off each other’s knowledge and experience.

What was interesting to me was thinking about disciplines outside of education and how they interact with each other and in which ways they belong to a social community. In most disciplines, such as say dentistry, people within that field if they’re close together location-wise they’re in competition with each other. This was weird to think of how they are able to still make a social connection when in competition. I suppose for the sake of professionalism they are able to join together and share theory and knowledge about their field. Also they most likely are part of an association that probably hosts conferences where they can really come together as an entire social community and have discussion.

The most interesting part to me about social communities within disciplines is that “faculty members share common formative experiences…and appreciate a common canon of writings by the ‘founding fathers’ of the disciplines” (Repko 90). This caught my attention because the founding fathers in the different types of art and psychology have always interested me and I hold a lot of respect for most of them. It intrigues me to think that I will be able to belong to my own disciplinary coaata_logommunity of art therapy and be a member of the American Art Therapy Association while also being a part of the art and psychology social communities on their own.


Repko, A. F., Szostak, R. & Buchberger, M. P. (2014). Introduction to Interdisciplinary Studies. Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage Publications.

American Art Therapy Association. N.d. Arttherapy.org. Web. 28 Mar. 2016.



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Disciplines as Social Communities Copyright © 2016 by Shelby Chapman is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License, except where otherwise noted.

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