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Languaging in and across Communities: New Voices, New Identities

Studies in Honour of Giuseppina Cortese


Sandra Campagna, Elana Ochse, Virginia Pulcini and Martin Solly

The title of this volume intentionally echoes that of a landmark issue of Textus on «Languaging» in and across Human Groups, edited by Giuseppina Cortese and Dell Hymes in 2001, since the notion of ‘languaging’ seems to capture most effectively the essence and the continuity in the life and work of Giuseppina Cortese, to whom the book is dedicated. It brings together contributions by a number of distinguished scholars that shed new light on current developments in this dynamic area of discourse analysis, especially taking into account recent research and emerging insights on speech communities and communities of practice.
The sections in the volume are designed as main threads of a new investigation into ‘languaging’. The first, entitled Languaging Awareness, deals with recent findings in applied linguistics, exploring key topics in language acquisition, language learning and teaching and the changing role of the media. The second section, Languaging Identity, prioritizes the theme of the construction of identity in text and talk within a linguistic and languaging framework. The third section, Languaging Community, explores the notion of community, of the lifeworld and the textworld emanating from a variety of domains, closely inspecting contemporary events and showing, on a continuum with Cortese’s approach, how memory of the past gives depth of meaning to a discourse analysis that is geared to linguistic and textual awareness.
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From Academic Community ‘in Transition’ to Academic Community ‘in Combat’



1.   Making the connection

With the title of this contribution I am making reference to an earlier paper of mine (Duszak 2005), in which I ventured a discourse-community view of the humanities in Poland, with special reference to linguistics. The time bracket of that paper was in the 1990s, when Polish academia was getting into the grip of socio-economic and cultural transformations following the overturn of communism. In the wake of the new realities the established model of the university came under pressure of new values, standards and practices. The traditional language of science started to be seen as dysfunctional from the perspective of emergent communication needs in and outside of academia. Scholars had to respond to global priorities in research communication and teaching requirements under the new educational policies. A growing internationalization of the academic market became a key issue, with Polish being made to compete with English as the global lingua franca in academia. Many scholars found themselves caught in the dilemma of how to reconcile national, global, as well as local-institutional and field-specific needs and goals. From the perspective of the entire community the decisions made had a cumulative effect on the continuity or else discontinuity in how the university was defined and discursively ‘done’ in current academic practices.

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