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Narratives in Academic and Professional Genres

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Maurizio Gotti and Carmen Sancho Guinda

This book received the Enrique Alcaraz Research Award in 2015.

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.

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CARMEN SANCHO GUINDA / MAURIZIO GOTTI Weaving a Narrative Paradigm in Academic and ProfessionalCommunication - 13

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CARMEN SANCHO GUINDA / MAURIZIO GOTTI Weaving a Narrative Paradigm in Academic and Professional Communication 1. Why a narrative approach to genre? A recurrent question posed by colleagues during the making of this book has been why we need to approach genres through narrative, when it is somehow dealt with by Genre Theory and to a lesser or greater extent by diverse linguistic schools (e.g. Structuralism, For- malism, Cognitive and Systemic Functional Linguistics) and by branches and disciplinary orientations that tackle genre analysis with different objectives, such as Ethnography, Linguistic Anthropology, Sociolinguistics, Rhetoric, Semiotics, Psycholinguistics, Stylistics, Discourse Analysis, Pragmatics, Film Studies, Trauma Theory, Multi- modality, Gender Studies, or Artificial Intelligence. Our answer could not be more categorical: because we believe that by applying the tools and foci of Narratology to the study of academic and professional gen- res we may enrich their description and contribute to deepen into their interpersonal workings, synergising theoretical positions and opening research windows that otherwise would be less prominent in special- ised communication. Among them are the cross-cultural and cross- disciplinary study of ‘emplotment’ (i.e. the conversion of chronicles, annals and temporally-sequenced events in general into stories), ‘foca- lisation’ (i.e. recounting perspective), composition strategies (espe- cially for linkage, beginnings and closures), the interplay of descrip- tion and narration in a given genre (investigated synchronically or diachronically), issues of collaboration and control in the telling (the latter through the selection and binding of events and the overt or cov- ert evaluation of content and form), and...

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