Through Narrative Theory, the book offers an engaging panorama of the construction of specialised discourses and practices within academia and diverse professional communities. Its chapters investigate genres from various fields, such as aircraft accident reports, clinical cases and other scientific observations, academic conferences, academic blogs, climate-change reports, university decision-making in public meetings, patients’ oral and written accounts of illness, corporate annual reports, journalistic obituaries, university websites, narratives of facts in legal cases, narrative processes in arbitration hearings, briefs, and witness examination accounts. In addition to exploring narration in this wide range of contexts, the volume uses narrative as a powerful tool to gain a methodological insight into professional and academic accounts, and thus it contributes to research into theoretical issues. Under the lens of Narratology, Discourse and Genre Analysis, fresh research windows are opened on the study of academic and professional interactions.
VIJAY K. BHATIA Foreword - 9
VIJAY K. BHATIA Foreword Researchers in social sciences have been using narrative accounts as a preferred methodological procedure to investigate various kinds of social processes, actions, and practices. However, for the investiga- tions of academic, institutional and professional discourses – and more importantly, practices –, narrative and ethnographic procedures have been introduced relatively recently. Drawing on Goffman’s (1959) suggestion of using off-stage performance of professional actors to make sense of their on-stage performance, Bhatia (2004) suggests a multiperspective and multi-dimensional genre analytical framework to make use of ‘narratives of experience’ to investigate professional dis- courses and practices. Personal and professional accounts of various practitioners in a number of interesting studies have thrown unprece- dented light on the motivations and typical practices of professional communities. In a fairly extended, internationally-focused investiga- tion of the so-called ‘colonisation’ of arbitration practice by litigation procedures,1 ‘narratives of experience’ from some of the well-estab- lished arbitration and litigation practitioners were extensively used to investigate the issue, with very significant results. Similarly, research- ers have also investigated ‘expert accounts’ of medical practitioners in order to understand the motivations behind their everyday professional decisions in an attempt to find an answer to the repeatedly asked question: ‘why do professionals in their daily routine take discursive 1 For details, see the works published with the support of a grant from the Research Grants Council of the Government of HKSAR [Project No. 9041191 (CityU 1501/06H)] on International Commercial Arbitration Practice: A Discourse Analytical Study. This was an investigation in which...
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