The paper contributes to an understanding of the pragmatics of academic ELF (English as a Lingua Franca) communication by examining the role that the thematization of self and other identities in terms pertinent to membership in an international community of scholars plays in peer-to-peer interaction among academics from different national backgrounds. The data examined consist of 183 research presentations by early-career scholars collected in an English-as-a-lingua-franca setting: the Max Weber Programme, an EU-funded postdoctoral programme located at the European University Institute, Florence. ‘Internationality’ in academic settings is approached as an identity construct that is achieved interactionally by participants through evoking socially-relevant categories in the course of talk. Drawing on work on Membership Categorization and on Van De Mieroop’s (2008) notion of ‘altercasting’ (cfr. also Sacks, 1972, on ‘relational pairs’), the paper examines how, in the course of research presentations addressed to academic peers, early-career scholars situate themselves and their listeners in the virtual space of international academia through reference (explicit and implicit) to geopolitically-relevant categories, i.e. by referring to geographical locations (e.g. countries, cities, regions), nationality, language and/or ethnicity. The analysis, which draws on both quantitative and qualitative (conversation analysis) methodologies, highlights how in peer-to-peer interaction with colleagues from different national and linguistic backgrounds, the scholars examined exhibit a particular understanding of international academia as a transnational space characterized by well-known landmarks (institutions of higher education referred to through recognitional reference), a centre (or centres, as the French scholars discretely remind their listeners) and peripheries. This space is frequently characterized as a ‘knowledge marketplace’, one in which groups of researchers exchange the results of their research, construct networks and lay the foundations for future collaboration. The analysis furthermore shows that this understanding is context-sensitive, reflecting both the geographical/geopolitical and institutional characteristics of the setting in which the presentations took place (an EU-funded training initiative located in Western Europe). A second major result regards the practices of self- and other-categorization identified and, more broadly, the “narratives of ‘me’” (Mauranen 2013) in which the presenters engage. These practices situate speakers not only at, but also below and above/beyond, the level of the nation-state. References to nationality and national origin are used to thematize both hybridity (“I am part-X, part-Y”) and mobility (“I am originally from X”); references to cities, towns and other sub-national geographical units serve both to construct trajectories in time and place and to colour them with the emotional overtones familiar to the migrant experience (nostalgia, desire for change). The analysis provides empirical confirmation that academic communication in international settings is characterized by the features of “non-locality, non-permanence, speaker mobility, and multilingualism” that have been identified by Mauranen (2012: 23) as central to ELF communication in general. It also provides insights into the mobility experiences of scholars whose careers are characterized by high levels of transnational mobility.

ANDERSON, L.J. (2015). ‘Internationality’ as a metapragmatic resource in research presentations addressed to English as a lingua franca audiences. In English for academic purposes: Approaches and implications (pp. 198-224). Newcastle-on-Tyne : Cambridge Scholars.

‘Internationality’ as a metapragmatic resource in research presentations addressed to English as a lingua franca audiences

ANDERSON, LAURIE JANE
2015

Abstract

The paper contributes to an understanding of the pragmatics of academic ELF (English as a Lingua Franca) communication by examining the role that the thematization of self and other identities in terms pertinent to membership in an international community of scholars plays in peer-to-peer interaction among academics from different national backgrounds. The data examined consist of 183 research presentations by early-career scholars collected in an English-as-a-lingua-franca setting: the Max Weber Programme, an EU-funded postdoctoral programme located at the European University Institute, Florence. ‘Internationality’ in academic settings is approached as an identity construct that is achieved interactionally by participants through evoking socially-relevant categories in the course of talk. Drawing on work on Membership Categorization and on Van De Mieroop’s (2008) notion of ‘altercasting’ (cfr. also Sacks, 1972, on ‘relational pairs’), the paper examines how, in the course of research presentations addressed to academic peers, early-career scholars situate themselves and their listeners in the virtual space of international academia through reference (explicit and implicit) to geopolitically-relevant categories, i.e. by referring to geographical locations (e.g. countries, cities, regions), nationality, language and/or ethnicity. The analysis, which draws on both quantitative and qualitative (conversation analysis) methodologies, highlights how in peer-to-peer interaction with colleagues from different national and linguistic backgrounds, the scholars examined exhibit a particular understanding of international academia as a transnational space characterized by well-known landmarks (institutions of higher education referred to through recognitional reference), a centre (or centres, as the French scholars discretely remind their listeners) and peripheries. This space is frequently characterized as a ‘knowledge marketplace’, one in which groups of researchers exchange the results of their research, construct networks and lay the foundations for future collaboration. The analysis furthermore shows that this understanding is context-sensitive, reflecting both the geographical/geopolitical and institutional characteristics of the setting in which the presentations took place (an EU-funded training initiative located in Western Europe). A second major result regards the practices of self- and other-categorization identified and, more broadly, the “narratives of ‘me’” (Mauranen 2013) in which the presenters engage. These practices situate speakers not only at, but also below and above/beyond, the level of the nation-state. References to nationality and national origin are used to thematize both hybridity (“I am part-X, part-Y”) and mobility (“I am originally from X”); references to cities, towns and other sub-national geographical units serve both to construct trajectories in time and place and to colour them with the emotional overtones familiar to the migrant experience (nostalgia, desire for change). The analysis provides empirical confirmation that academic communication in international settings is characterized by the features of “non-locality, non-permanence, speaker mobility, and multilingualism” that have been identified by Mauranen (2012: 23) as central to ELF communication in general. It also provides insights into the mobility experiences of scholars whose careers are characterized by high levels of transnational mobility.
978-1-4438-7439-7
1-4438-7439-6
ANDERSON, L.J. (2015). ‘Internationality’ as a metapragmatic resource in research presentations addressed to English as a lingua franca audiences. In English for academic purposes: Approaches and implications (pp. 198-224). Newcastle-on-Tyne : Cambridge Scholars.
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Utilizza questo identificativo per citare o creare un link a questo documento: http://hdl.handle.net/11365/972058