Doing “Business as Usual”: Dynamics of Voice in Community Organizing Talk



This article examines discourse in a community change project committed to undoing “business as usual”—attempts to “fix” problems within the community without involvement of residents in the process. We show how, despite commitments to recognizing community “voice,” participants' orientation to powerful “centering institutions” (Jan Blommaert 2005) transformed and overrode community residents' critical contributions, thus realizing microinteractionally some recurring broader patterns of the process, and resulting in the unintended reproduction of business as usual. [community change initiative, social context of schooling, discourse analysis, contextualization]