The theoretical perspectives and the individual case studies of this volume testify to the wide range of methodological tools made available by genre theory, enabling researchers to handle problems relating to the description of variations in language use. Moreover, the following relevant issues are addressed: how are specialized genres constructed, interpreted and exploited in the achievement of specific goals in highly specialized contexts?
VIJAY K. BHATIA / MAURIZIO GOTTI: Introduction 9
VIJAY K. BHATIA / MAURIZIO GOTTI Introduction Genre analysis has become firmly established as one of the most popular frameworks for the study of specialized genres in academic, professional and institutional as well as other workplace contexts. In its initial phase genre theory was used for the description of variations in the use of language for specific purpose texts as a basis for designing language learning and teaching programmes (Bhatia 1991; Kathpalia 1992; Swales 1990). As such the main emphasis during this phase was on the analysis of linguistic form with some attention given to context, although the basis of genre theory has always been the relationship between text and context both in a narrow sense of what surrounds the text as well as in a broader sense of what makes a particular genre possible and how it is used in specialized contexts. The earlier phase was also restricted in another sense, in that the focus of much of genre analysis was on a limited range of specialized genres, specifically those embedded in scientific, technological, business, legal and research (Bhatia 1982, 1993; Swales 1981, 1990; Trimble 1985) contexts, as these were seen as crucial for the development of LSP programmes. In more recent years, however, genre theory has taken a more serious look at context in a much broader sense, paying particular attention to more comprehensive understanding of text/context interactions focusing not simply on form and content of LSP genres, but more importantly on how these specialized genres are constructed,...
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