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LINGUIST List 20.348

Tue Feb 03 2009

Diss: Disc Analysis/Pragmatics: Lischinsky: 'The Construction of ...'

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        1.    Alon Lischinsky, The Construction of Expert Knowledge in Popular Management Literature

Message 1: The Construction of Expert Knowledge in Popular Management Literature
Date: 03-Feb-2009
From: Alon Lischinsky <alonlischinsky.net>
Subject: The Construction of Expert Knowledge in Popular Management Literature
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Institution: Universitat Pompeu Fabra
Program: Linguistic Sciences and Applied Linguistics
Dissertation Status: Completed
Degree Date: 2008

Author: Alon Lischinsky

Dissertation Title: The Construction of Expert Knowledge in Popular Management Literature

Linguistic Field(s): Applied Linguistics
                            Discourse Analysis

Dissertation Director:
Teun A. van Dijk

Dissertation Abstract:

This thesis is a critically-oriented study of how knowledge and authority
are legitimated in the discursive structure of popular management books.
Some key textual and contextual properties of these texts are investigated
in a corpus of over a hundred texts, representing a selection of highly
influential works in this field according to emic criteria.

Five empirical studies assess different aspects of their structure, with a
special attention to their role in the construction of authorial and reader
personas: the nature of management book titles, that sets the pragmatic key
for the understanding of these texts; the use of metadiscourse to set and
answer genre expectations, shedding light on the reciprocal expectations of
authors and readers; exemplification patterns, showing how persuasive texts
can be deployed without developing general arguments; the use of narratives
of personal experience to establish authorial credibility; and the
strategic deployment of presuppositions to mobilize readers' affects and
convictions in highly-charged topics.

The purpose of these studies is to provide a discursively-based account of
the typical persuasive devices used by writers in popular management,
illuminating the epistemic characteristics of the discipline. The analyses
show the highly idiosyncratic character of popular management writing, that
cannot be assimilated either to academic criteria not to popularisation
genres. The positioning of writers regarding their texts, their themes and
their audience is understood as an expression of their position within the
field of management, where several interests and sets of practitioners
coincide. Its relation to the well-established ideological character of the
discipline is discussed, as is the value of textually-oriented discourse
analysis for the critique of such ideologies.

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