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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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POLLYWALSH Multiple Roles and Footing Shifts in Academic Lectures 385

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POLLY WALSH Multiple Roles and Footing Shifts in Academic Lectures 1. Academic roles and discourses It has long been recognized by sociologists that professional, social or institutional status does not correspond to a single role, but involves the holder in an array of different role-relationships (Merton 1957). As a consequence of the teaching-research duality at the heart of university life, the role-set which goes with academic positions is particularly rich. There are a number of pedagogic roles: the academic is by turns learning guide, gatekeeper, counsellor, and may also relate to students as an institutional figure in the university outside the classroom. Another complex subset of role-relationships links academics as researchers to others in the research community, both in their specific area of study and in the discipline as a whole. And, of course, they also relate in a host of different roles to their colleagues of other subjects, to the university administration, to funding bodies, and so on. 1.1. Studies of research genres Research into academic discourse has developed in two main areas, one focusing on speech events and text-types associated with the academic’s pedagogic roles, the other on forms of communication arising from the researcher role-set. A primary concern of the latter has been to explore, through their linguistic and rhetorical manifesta- tions, the ‘social interactions’ (Hyland 2000) underlying academic Polly Walsh 386 writing; for example, how authors relate to their peers in the field when putting forward new knowledge claims (Myers 1989; Swales 1990). Corpus-assisted studies have...

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