HAL will be down for maintenance from Friday, June 10 at 4pm through Monday, June 13 at 9am. More information
Skip to Main content Skip to Navigation
Conference papers

Place and space as shapers of disciplinary identity: A multimodal analysis of disciplinary becoming.

Abstract : Today, researchers and practitioners in the fields of English for Academic Purposes (EAP), English for Specific Purposes (ESP), Applied Linguistics, and first and second language (L1/L2) writing research overwhelmingly acknowledge that scholarly communication is co-constructed and highly interpersonal. Thanks to the foundational work carried out in the 1980s and 1990s on writing as social process and rhetorical action, we have definitively moved away from a time when scientific and scholarly discourse was viewed as impersonal, clinical, precise and rule-governed, toward an understanding of something much more messy, dynamic, co-constructed, at times even personal, and certainly less strictly rule-governed than imagined. Thanks to this important bed of research, today we also know a good deal more about what it takes for students to become successful professional or academic writers: clearly, knowledge about just discoursal forms and disciplinary genres by themselves is not enough. From Beaufort (1999, 2007), Tardy (2009) and others, we know that as they become more proficient experienced disciplinary writers, students are learning about much more than just the material forms of genres and their linguistic structures. From various writing researchers (Bazerman, 1988, Berkenkotter & Huckin, 1995, Berkenkotter, 2001, Freedman & Medway 1994, Ivanič, 1998, Myers, 1990, Prior, 1997, Swales, 2004), we know that they are also learning about how their discipline’s genres are intertextually related to other genres; what their situation of use and physical setting are; what the discipline’s material practices and interpersonal relations are like; what the socio-economic structure of the discipline is; what the discipline’s histories of practice and ideologies are; what its members’ identities are; and so forth. And yet, in the fields of EAP, ESP and L2 writing research, many studies have been limited to an analysis of text that is explicitly identifiable on the page and of context alongside text. As a result, the discourse analysis of academic and research genres to date has largely failed to examine the less visible features of text although a large part of what generates meaning for specialists and informed insiders arises from implicit textual cues, or indexes. The purpose of this paper is to explore the role of indexicality in the construction of disciplinary and discoursal expertise, arguing that to do so it is necessary to move beyond viewing how context acts alongside text to viewing how context actually constructs text. It reports on results from a longitudinal, situated genre analysis of geology's fieldwork writing practices, combining qualitative and quantitative methods: a sociohistorical analysis of fieldwork practices in geology (1650 to the present); a genre-based study of published fieldwork reports (1992-2003); an ethnography of fieldwork practices, including extensive interviews with field geologists and onsite observations; and a narrative of disicplinary becoming. The discussion of issues is framed by insights from identity, frame and genre theories. The results show how disciplinary concerns and imperatives can be seen to materialize as indexes in published scientific writing in geology. Students and less-experienced members of the disciplinary community must learn these indexes, in addition to the overt discoursal and linguistic patterns typically taught in the ESP classroom. The results of a diachronic case study of one field geologist, observed as he moves from undergraduate to instructor status (1996-2008), illustrate the emergence of disciplinary indexicality in his fieldwork writing over time.
Document type :
Conference papers
Complete list of metadata

Contributor : Dacia Dressen-Hammouda Connect in order to contact the contributor
Submitted on : Monday, March 9, 2015 - 5:49:41 PM
Last modification on : Wednesday, December 8, 2021 - 11:40:02 AM


  • HAL Id : hal-01128493, version 1



Dacia Dressen-Hammouda. Place and space as shapers of disciplinary identity: A multimodal analysis of disciplinary becoming.. Space, place and the discursive construction of identity Conference, Jun 2012, Naples, Italy. ⟨hal-01128493⟩



Record views