This volume brings together a variety of discourse perspectives on academic genres and offers insights into the complex interplay between academic texts, the context of scholarly communication and the more general background of community, society and culture. A key point shared by both the editors and the authors of the respective papers is that academic genres are now subject to the impact of other genres, styles, discourses and practices, which were previously distant and disconnected, but are now more and more interwoven and mutually (or not?) responsive. Consequently, there may now be reasons to speak about academic (inter)genres, a concept which emphasizes their currently observed formal and functional fuzziness.
The question of academic genres’ fuzziness, which emerges as a recurrent theme in the papers collected in this volume, can be approached from a number of analytical angles. On the one hand, discourse theorists refer to terminological essentials, pointing out that ambivalent borderlines between genres and discourses are intrinsic to the more fundamental problem of the diversity of definitions proposed for the concepts proper. Yet this status quo seems to be given tacit consent; any attempt to institutionally sanction one definition of genre or one definition of discourse, on which basis scholars in an academic community can determine the boundaries in the repertoires of its genres and discourse, is bound to further divide any such community rather than consolidate it.
Another line of inquiry followed by the contributors to the present anthology concerns the...
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