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Rhetoric, Discourse and Knowledge

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Edited By Maria Załęska and Urszula Okulska

The authors of this volume explore rhetorical and discursive strategies used to negotiate and establish legitimate knowledge and its disciplinary boundaries, to make scientific knowledge interesting outside academic settings as well, and to manage (c)overt knowledge in different social and political contexts. The volume focuses on the cultural concept of knowledge society, examining diverse linguistic means of knowledge transmission from the perspective of the complex interplay between knowledge and persuasion. The contributors discuss both sociological and philosophical issues, as well as textual processes in different genres that aim to communicate knowledge.

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The rhetoric of research reports in the humanities: Paradoxes of exigence (Katarzyna Molek-Kozakowska)

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Katarzyna Molek-Kozakowska

University of Opole

The rhetoric of research reports in the humanities: Paradoxes of exigence

Abstract: The chapter shows how scholars construct the rhetorical exigence of their reports. The author identifies a set of conventional motives that academics typically use to explain what made them write a scientific text. An in-depth study of these rhetorical moves unveils some complex relationships between humanities and the current knowledge hegemonies.

1. Introduction

To start on a personal note, this is a fragment of a review I received when I subjected my language-oriented study of a sample of popular mediated texts I collected for over a year. It was forwarded to me by the editors of a mid-ranking journal (according to Thomson-Reuters JCR) in social sciences which professed itself to be interdisciplinary:

The motivation for this particular study is unclear and therefore the exigence for this particular article is unclear. Is there a ‘gap’ exigence related to the absence of studies of [this area]? Is there a particular exigence related to [the material studied]? (…) The issue of (…) is raised but that issue does not seem to have been a motive for the study as designed and presented. Some compelling explanation of why this particular study was done is needed.

Although it was entirely constructive and helpful, the referee’s report explicitly required me to specify the exigence and reveal the motivation for my study. Given my cultural...

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