Interactions between ideology, dialogic space construction and the text organizing function: Comparative study on the traditional and postmodern academic writing corpora

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Dialogic elements are considered to play a crucial role in text construction, but little has been revealed concerning how these elements interact with other resources to construct text. This paper explores the text-organizing function of
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  POST-PRINT Interactions between ideology, dialogic space construction, and the text-organizing function: A comparative study on the traditional and postmodern academic writing corpora 1 This is a pre-copyedited (post-print) version of an article accepted for publication in English Text Construction 7  (2) (2014) following peer review. Sawaki, T. (2014). A comparative study of traditional and postmodern academic writing corpora. English Text Construction , 7  (2), 178 – 214. http://doi.org/10.1075/etc.7.2.02saw   POST-PRINT Interactions between ideology, dialogic space construction, and the text-organizing function: A comparative study on the traditional and postmodern academic writing corpora 2 Interactions between ideology, dialogic space construction, and the text-organizing function: A comparative study of traditional and postmodern academic writing corpora Author: Tomoko Sawaki Affiliation: School of the Arts and Media, University of New South Wales, Australia Address: School of the Arts and Media, University of New South Wales, Sydney NSW 2052, Australia E-mail address: tomokosawakigillard@gmail.com Abstract  Dialogic elements are considered to play a crucial role in text construction, but little has been revealed concerning how these elements interact with other resources to construct text. This paper explores the text-organizing function of heteroglossic resources quantitatively by focusing on different ideological stances that thesis writers take, namely, the traditional or postmodern stance they take toward history writing. In this study, I demonstrate that traditional and postmodern theses vary significantly in the way they create dialogic spaces. The analysis further reveals that the different dialogic strategies they employ are manifested in the larger textual organization, which demonstrates that dialogic resources interact with text-organizing resources in the construction of text. Keywords: dialogism; corpus linguistics; English for Academic Purposes; history discourse; interactions between multiple resources.  POST-PRINT Interactions between ideology, dialogic space construction, and the text-organizing function: A comparative study on the traditional and postmodern academic writing corpora 3 1.   Introduction It was nearly two decades ago that Hodge (1995) found what he called the “ postmodern turn ”  in humanities and social-sciences thesis writing: In discipline after discipline, it [the postmodern turn] raises issues of epistemology and the processes of intellectual and textual production, in a way that is cumulatively so radical that the previous practices of disciplinary knowledge can no longer be assumed as given by those aspiring to profess them at any level. (Hodge 1995: 35) “Postmodernism” is generally characterized by a mistrust of the grand narratives relied on by modernism, which was built on the belief that maintaining objectivity throughout an inquiry is possible. Lyotard (1984)  –   who coined the term  –   defined postmodernism as an “incredulity toward meta - narratives” ( p. xxiv); that is, an incredulity toward the power to universalize the meta-narrative that presupposes that there is such a thing as universal, true knowledge. As postmodernism became more prominent , the modernist’s construction of knowledge as a true objective description of the world was increasingly  POST-PRINT Interactions between ideology, dialogic space construction, and the text-organizing function: A comparative study on the traditional and postmodern academic writing corpora 4 questioned across disciplines, especially in the humanities, resulting in postmodern elements in academic writing that refuses to construct objective knowledge. In postmodern academia, where researchers know that the observation of objects ‘ as they are ’  is no longer possible, a growing number of academic writings are radically personal and subjective: Typically . . . they are over-ambitious, they lack unity, they lack objectivity, they are “ creative ” , they are difficult to assign to a single disciplinary pigeon-hole, they are excessively concerned with their own conditions of production, and they are strenuously, complexly written (or, sometimes, refuse to be merely written, but reach out for some other mode of presentation). (Hodge 1995: 35) Hodge further pointed out that what new humanities theses look like should be studied from the pedagogical perspective, because these theses “ run the risk of being judged by inappropriate criteria ”  or “ as failing to be ‘ good Old Humanities theses ’”  (Hodge 1995: 35). Many studies report that academic writing is not as static and monolithic as it was once believed to be. Thus, Hyland (2004) pointed out that “ the discourses of the  POST-PRINT Interactions between ideology, dialogic space construction, and the text-organizing function: A comparative study on the traditional and postmodern academic writing corpora 5 academy are enormously diverse ”  (p. x), and that “ this diversity has important implications for writers as they interact with their teachers and peers, and as they write themselves into their disciplines ”  (p. x), indicating that successful interaction through writing can be achieved by adequate understanding of diverse practices or ideologies within disciplines. Postmodern elements in humanities writing may be one of the consequences of such diversified ideologies within disciplines (e.g. Hodge 1998; Swales 2004; Starfield & Ravelli 2006; Casanave 2010). Most of the literature on English for Academic Purposes (EAP), however, has focused on the description of major elements in genre and disciplines (e.g. Prior 1998; Lewin, Fine & Young 2001; Hyland 2004; Samraj 2005). Despite the increasing awareness that variations exist within disciplines, which is particularly apparent in postmodern humanities and social-sciences thesis writing, as yet not much research has been conducted on the ways in which different ideological orientations within disciplines impact on academic text construction. In studies that investigate the postmodern elements in contemporary academic writing, researchers have agreed that a growing body of academic writing today rejects the traditional academic writing style aiming to be detached and objective and has become increasingly subjective (Hall 1985; Hodge 1995; Kelly, Hickey & Tinning
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