Genres are ways in which people get things done through their use of language in particular contexts or discourse communities. Studies of genres are often said to fall into three schools: American New Rhetoric (NR), systemic functional linguistics (SFL) and applied linguistics (AL). The research focuses of the three schools can be examined from the perspective of a text/context continuum, with NR falling toward the contextual end and SFL and AL toward the textual end. Despite divergence in theoretical origins and research focuses, analysts in the three schools, who view genres as dynamic and historical, all seem to have the goals of describing and explaining this situated use of language in context, aiming to probe into various ways genres and society are related. The present paper argues that the current studies of genres are generally approached from the social and cultural perspectives, supplementing a cognitive dimension to the current studies would be a worthwhile research direction. On the whole, the competition and evolution of the three schools seem to lie in the fact that they are mostly complementary, and this is particularly the case in the current practice of analyzing genres.