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Discourse, Identities and Roles in Specialized Communication


Edited By 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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GIULIANA GARZONE Actors, Identities and Roles in Professional and Academic Discourse: An Introduction 15


GIULIANA GARZONE Actors, Identities and Roles in Professional and Academic Discourse: An Introduction The studies presented in this volume focus on two different areas of specialized communication which have been defined on the basis of the settings in which the relevant discursive interactions are embedded, respectively professional and academic. In particular, they investigate the way the actors involved, their roles and their identities are constructed in language and discourse.1 1. Constructing identities and roles through discourse That language use in itself conveys important information about the actors involved in an oral or written exchange is something that has long been brought home by research in sociolinguistics, and especially in the area customarily referred to as ‘variationist’ that focuses on the social significance of language variation. The information that can be inferred from what goes on in a linguistic interaction even in the absence of any other form of contact with the interlocutor(s) is rich and complex, and includes personal traits like geographical provenance, sex and age, and primary sociological traits such as social class, nationality and ethnicity (cf. among others Trudgill 1974/2000; Chambers 2003). 1 Most of the chapters of this volume are based on papers originally presented at the international conference ‘Discourse and Identity in Specialized Dis- course’ organized by the English and Linguistics research group of the Department of Contemporary Languages and Cultures of the University of Milan at Gargnano del Garda (Brescia, Italy) on 24-26 June 2007. Giuliana Garzone 16 These elements by necessity emerge and...

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