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Writing center scholarship often high-lights the ways in which their distinctive, less directive, nongraded, and individualized instruction can make them distinctive social and pedagogical spaces. There is a simultaneous argument, however, that writing centers are often institutionally vulnerable and may be unable to engage in or promote such differences within the larger college or university. Yet, despite their size and possible vulnerability, the daily practices and institutional positioning of writing centers can help change conversations and work toward a different vision, political approach, and institutional presence. Drawing on Victor Friedman’s concept of “enclaves of different practice” and Brian Massumi’s theories of affect, this article explores how writing centers can adopt a theory of institutional change grounded in social fields and relationships. If, as Friedman advocates, institutions can be changed from the “inside out” through attention to empowering relationships and reconfiguring social fields, writing centers can adopt dispositions and practices to create the environments from which futures can emerge that sustain their values. The article provides brief examples of how a writing center can explicitly frame and promote pedagogical and participatory values to work toward larger institutional and political change.


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Original Publication Information

Williams, Bronwyn T. (2022) "Writing Centers, Enclaves, and Creating Spaces of Change Within Universities," Writing Center Journal: Vol. 40 : Iss. 3, Article 2.