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Discourse, Identities and Roles in Specialized Communication

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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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LARISSA D’ANGELO Exploring Gender Identity in Academic Book Reviews 365

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LARISSA D’ANGELO Exploring Gender Identity in Academic Book Reviews 1. Introduction Research in academic discourse has established that academic writing is not uniform, but varies greatly depending on disciplinary conven- tions, the cultural background of the writer and his/her professional status and experience (Mauranen 1993; Crammond 1998; Hyland 2000; Hyland/Bondi 2006; Silver 2006). Although several studies have highlighted the stylistic and interactional differences between men and women when it comes to writing (Herbert 1990; Herring/ Martinson 2004), language variation in academic writing is still a relatively new and debated field. The few existing studies concerning this field seem to suggest that men and women prefer different linguistic features when they express themselves in the academia and interact with fellow researchers (Kirsch 1993; Tannen 1994; Herring et al. 1995; Holmes 1995). More specifically, some studies report that women’s argumentative style tends to be more affiliative, polite and personal rather than competitive and assertive (Flynn 1988), whereas others argue that the academic writing of men and women is more similar than it is different (Lynch/Strauss-Noll 1987). Recent findings however, tend to demonstrate the potential influence of gender in academic discourse by considering gender together with disciplinary cultures in the study of academic interactions (Tse/Hyland 2006). Previous research on metadiscourse in book reviews belonging to different disciplines (Hyland 2004) has clearly shown how disciplinary affiliation influences male and female rhetorical choices. However, although the disciplines of Philosophy, Sociology and Biology have recently been under study for what concerns gender Larissa D’Angelo 366 variation,...

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