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Discourse and Contemporary Social Change

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Norman Fairclough, Guiseppina Cortese and Patrizia Ardizzone

This book draws together a rich variety of perspectives on discourse as a facet of contemporary social change, representing a number of different disciplines, theoretical positions and methods. The specific focus of the volume is on discourse as a moment of social change, which can be seen to involve objects of research which comprise versions of some or all of the following research questions: How and where did discourses (narratives) emerge and develop? How and where did they achieve hegemonic status? How and where and how extensively have they been recontextualized? How and where and to what extent have they been operationalized? The dialectical approach indicated above implies that discourse analysis includes analysis of relations between language (more broadly, semiosis) and its social ‘context’.

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Section 2Language Variation and Social Change

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Section 2 Language Variation and Social Change MAURIZIO GOTTI Globalisation and Discursive Changes in Specialised Contexts 1. Globalisation in specialised contexts In recent years, the dismantling of cultural, disciplinary and national barriers, especially in the context of co-operation and collaboration in international trade, has accelerated moves towards the globalisation of socio-cultural, business and communication issues. This process of globalisation offers a topical illustration of the interaction between linguistic and cultural factors in the construction of discourse, both within specialised domains and in wider contexts. Domain-specific languages are prone to the pressures of intercultural variation, as it is not only the sociocultural factors inherent in a text but also the interpretive schemata which deeply affect its realisation and interpretation within the host professional community. Moreover, intercultural communication is often made more complex by the locutors’ need to make their texts as adaptable as possible to contextual features and pragmatic purposes, thus frequently originat- ing great variation in professional genres as well as phenomena of intertextuality and interdiscursivity (Foucault 1984, Bakhtin 1986, Fairclough 1992). This is particularly evident in certain fields – such as that of mediation (Candlin/Maley 1997) – which require excellent social and linguistic skills, as well as the ability to draw creatively upon other related and more established professions with their associated discourses. In such a way, not only are novel (inter)texts constructed, but novel (inter)discourses also make an appearance, representing new and as yet not fully stable orders of discourse. This process of globalisation has certainly favoured English,...

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