Language being one of the most evident and powerful ‘markers’ of cultural identity, discourse and text are sites where cultures are both constructed and displayed and where identities are negotiated. The approaches to the analysis of culture and identity adopted here to account for the multifaceted realisations of cultural identities in the texts and documents taken into consideration span from multimodality, to discourse and genre analysis, to corpus linguistics and text analysis. The volume then offers a varied picture of approaches to the scientific enquiry into the multifaceted manifestations of identity in and across national, professional, and disciplinary cultures.
The Significance of ‘Significant’: Value Marking Across Disciplinary Cultures: Davide Simone Giannoni
DAVIDE SIMONE GIANNONI
The Significance of ‘Significant’: Value Marking Across Disciplinary Cultures
The construction/negotiation of knowledge claims across different disciplines is a much studied area of academic discourse. By exploiting generic conventions and the expectations they engender, scholars pursue their own interpretations of reality while contributing to the advancement of disciplinary knowledge. Because of the inevitable tensions between new and old, accepted and controversial claims, academic texts are disseminated with evaluative speech acts, that is of linguistic resources belonging to the lexis of judgement and subjectivity (Thompson / Hunston 2000). A very noticeable feature of evaluation is its reliance upon shared interpretations that function along a continuum. Its judgements – whether of a moral, aesthetic or epistemic nature – encode “construals of experiences in context on binary scales between positive and negative” (Downes 2000: 104). To understand what is at stake, it is essential to go beyond the linguistic toolbox of evaluation and look at the axiological variables or values they imply. In Thetela’s (1997) words, we should shed light on what constitutes ‘worthiness’ for academics belonging to any given (sub)discipline. This need reflects a growing awareness among linguists of the close relationship between cultural values and discourse:
A value is an attitude or an interest that people in a cultural group cherish for its own sake, or perhaps cherish instrumentally as something that is essential to the maintenance of the group itself. Cultural values provide structures or mechanisms that affect...