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Evolving Genres in Web-mediated Communication

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Edited By Sandra Campagna, Giuliana Elena Garzone and Cornelia Ilie

This volume explores genres in Web-mediated communication in a discourse-analytical perspective, focusing in particular on genre change and evolution under the pressure of technological renewal, the availability of new affordances, and the consequent emergence of new generic conventions that challenge traditional genre theory. The chapters are organised in an ideal progression from websites and more ‘traditional’ Web applications to Web 2.0 communicative platforms, characterised as they are by user participation and user-generated content, focusing in the final section on blogging and microblogging as the applications that are most representative of the properties of the new platforms. In all chapters the starting point is an awareness of the need to renew or adapt existing analytical tools to make them applicable to the new objects of investigation.

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Exploring the Blogosphere

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GIULIANA GARZONE Where Do Web Genres Come from? The Case of Blogs 1. Introduction Developments in computer-mediated communication (CMC) and the increasing importance and pervasiveness of web applications are cer- tainly among the factors that have played a most crucial role in deter- mining the proliferation of non-literary discourse genres and their un- precedentedly rapid evolution in the contemporary world. These developments have also posed a challenge to genre studies, and led them to question the suitability of their methodological toolkit for the analysis of web-mediated texts, suggesting the need to adjust them to the analysis and categorization of phenomena presenting peculiarities never dealt with before. Already in the early 1990s Yates and Orlikowski (1992) dis- cussed the problems associated with the categorization and analysis of web-mediated genres, suggesting that they may derive from the repro- duction or adaptation of existing communicative genres, or emerge in totally new forms, thus making important additions to existing genre repertoires and creating new ones (Orlikowski/Yates 1994; cf. also Crowston/Williams 2000). In an earlier work (Garzone 2007: 16-17) I distinguished between two different kinds of ‘genre migration’ to the web (as I proposed to call the transfer of pre-existing genres to the web): some genres – e.g. the online glossary, the web encyclopedia, the online newspaper – are preliminarily submitted to a degree of modification and adaptation before being turned into the electronic/hypertextual format to meet the peculiarities of the new medium (Crowston/Williams 2000; Lemke 2002), while others (e.g. the e-book, the academic article in pdf...

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