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Power, Persuasion and Manipulation in Specialised Genres

Providing Keys to the Rhetoric of Professional Communities


Edited By María Ángeles Orts Llopis, Ruth Breeze and Maurizio Gotti

This volume focuses on the study of linguistic manipulation, persuasion and power in the written texts of professional communication, to go further into the understanding of how they are constructed, interpreted, used and exploited in the achievement of specific goals. Such texts are here contemplated from the stance of genre theory, which starts from the premise that specialised communities have a high level of rhetorical sophistication, the keys to which are offered solely to their members. In particular, the book investigates the communicative devices that serve the need of such professions to exert power and manipulation, and to use persuasion. The perspective adopted in this work does not envisage power simply as a distant, alienated and alienating supremacy from above, but as an everyday, socialized and embodied phenomenon. To attain its goal, the volume brings forth studies on the language of several professions belonging to various specialised fields such as law and arbitration, engineering, economics, advertising, business, politics, medicine, social work, education and the media.

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Maintaining a Dominant Voice: A Syntactic Analysis of the Way Power is Wielded in Medical Editorials (Shirley Carter-Thomas / Elizabeth Rowley-Jolivet)


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Maintaining a Dominant Voice: A Syntactic Analysis of the Way Power is Wielded in Medical Editorials

1.   Introduction

The medical profession is a powerful specialized community in western societies, with highly selective access and elite status, extensive social relevance, a strong corporate identity, and its own internal regulatory bodies. Its opinions therefore carry considerable weight, but need to be couched in such a way as to elicit agreement (from the general public, from the authorities, etc.) in order to maintain this dominant position. As pointed out by Orts (2016: 2):

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