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Discourse, Identities and Roles in Specialized Communication

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Giuliana Elena Garzone and James Archibald

The studies presented in this volume focus on two distinct but related areas of specialized communication professional and academic settings, resting on an anti-essentialist notion of identity as a phenomenon that emerges from the dialectic between individual and society.
The authors start from a detailed analysis of discourse practices as evidenced in texts, their production and the professional performance patterns which underlie such practices, and explore the way the actors, roles and identities are constructed in language and discourse. In particular, by highlighting discursive attitudes and aptitudes, they underscore the need to understand discourse in light of norms of professional responsibility, showing that not only do professionals and academics use discourse to create self-identity, but they also use identity constructed through discourse to influence society.

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JAMES ARCHIBALD Foreword: Discursive Responsibility in Professional Communication 9

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JAMES ARCHIBALD Foreword: Discursive Responsibility in Professional Communication This collection is conceptually part of a series of edited volumes on language and communication as they manifest themselves in discourse in professional settings. In particular, this book is a natural sequel to a volume dealing with ideology and specialized communication published in 2007 (Garzone/Sarangi 2007), but in the current collection researchers’ chapters focus specifically on issues of identity and competence in a variety of professional contexts, including academic settings. By highlighting discursive attitudes, aptitudes1 and fitness, the authors have underscored the importance of responsible behaviour in crafting effective communication by academics, economists, jurists, health workers, and even sportsmen. Not only do these individuals use discourse to create self-identity, but they also use identity constructed through discourse to influence society. Hence, one cannot dissociate the need to understand discourse in light of codified norms of pro- fessional communicative responsibility. It is for this reason that readers of this volume will be encouraged to reflect on how we, as academics, approach the deontology of enhancing good discursive practices (Prairat 2009) as well as the ways in which practicing professionals in the broadest sense of the term use discourse to shape the micro and macro environments in which they live and work (Fairclough 1992). Discourse cannot, therefore, be divorced from our relationship with the social world (Bourdieu 1984). Consequently, we must be keenly aware of our use of discourse to bring about social change. 1 This is what Georges Mounin has called the “aptitude...

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