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Volume 68, Issue 1
  • ISSN: 0010-096X
  • E-ISSN: 1939-9006


Drawing from a large qualitative study, we examine how students experience writing in college, focusing on the conditions that allow students to develop their authorship and those that encourage students to experience writing as a process of following rules and regulations. We situate students’ perceptions, and the assignments and practices that led to them, within what anthropologists call “audit culture”—accounting practices and their technologies, which have migrated across institutions, including higher education. We suggest our field’s institutional status and pedagogical complexities make us especially susceptible to audit culture, and we argue that students’ experiences in our writing classrooms, where they face an ever-increasing bureaucratization of literacy, is an urgent area of research. We ask readers to consider the extent to which audit culture encourages teachers to create closed systems that privilege outcomes rather than consequences with an end-inview. We conclude by calling for an artisanal identity for both teachers and students.


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  • Article Type: Research Article
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