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Interpersonality in Legal Genres

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Edited By Ruth Breeze, Maurizio Gotti and Carmen Sancho Guinda

Few concepts in Discourse Studies are so versatile and intricate and have been so frequently contested as interpersonality. This construct offers ample terrain for new research, since it can be viewed using a range of diverse theoretical frameworks, employing a variety of analytical tools and social perspectives.
Studies on the relationship between writer/reader and speaker/audience in the legal field are still scarce, dispersed, and limited to a narrow range of genres and a restricted notion of interpersonality, since they are most often confined to modality and the Gricean cooperative principles.
This volume is meant to help bridge this gap. Its chapters show the realisation and distribution of interpersonal features in specific legal genres. The aim is to achieve an expansion of the concept of interpersonality, which besides modality, Grice’s maxims and other traditionally interpersonal features, might comprise or relate to ideational and textual issues like narrative disclosure, typography, rhetorical variation, or Plain English, among others.
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The Management of Conflict: Arbitration in Corporate E-releases

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1. Introduction

Corporate communication is generally concerned with construing and projecting the company’s identity and image. Both are realized through their discursive practices by means of the communicative resources they have at their disposal. Corporate communication is addressed to four main target groups: employees, investors, customers and the wider audience. The texts and genres produced by corporations vary according to who the audience will be. As Breeze (2013) contends, we can approach corporate communication from the perspective of who these texts and genres are intended for, and thus foregrounding ‘the dialogic purpose of discourse’ (Breeze 2013: 25). Press releases are discursive events that are at the centre of corporate life. Attached to day-to-day professional practices and corporate decisions, they act as carriers of image, identity and values and thus are particularly associated with the media and the wider audience. Furthermore, their communicative function has been profusely studied and in general terms there is the widely accepted assumption that these texts are a hybrid genre (Bhatia 1995, 2004) that incorporates different discourses, mostly informative and promotional. However, the precise motives and purposes underlying a particular press release can vary substantially.

The texts which are the object of study in this chapter comply with the principles of genre construction and description: they are communicative artefacts that represent the textual articulation of social processes and, as such, they are reproduced, adapted and transformed; they develop as an ‘embedded social process’, one which ← 355 | 356 → “concomitantly both shapes...

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