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Putting genre into practice: textually mediated encounters with scientific knowledge.

Conference contribution
Authors Ann-Marie Eriksson
Published in Norwegian Forum for English for Academic Purposes. Oslo Metropolitan University, Norway. 6-8 June 2018.
Publication year 2018
Published at The Linnaeus Centre for Research on Learning, Interaction, and Mediated Communication in Contemporary Society (LinCS)
Unit for Academic Language
Department of Education, Communication and Learning
Language en
Subject categories Educational Sciences


Texts and text production play important key roles in the communication and conveyance of science and knowledge, and particularly so at universities. Academia not only holds a special responsibility for passing on scientific insights about the world and knowledge grounded in scientific explorations. It is also responsible for initiating and supporting processes where people repeatedly encounter and begin dealing with documented knowledge and knowledge practices that are new to them through genre. Given the communicative and developmental aspects that characterize educational settings, this presentation approaches genre as tool in the Vygotskian sense. A sociocultural and dialogical perspective gives priority to people and their development. Accordingly, genres become interesting in their capacity as resources for mediating and coordinating social practices, i.e. genres are held as innovations used for specific actions such as describing scientific problems, documenting findings and passing such insights on to others. Operationalized as part of university education, genres therefore provide opportunities to make knowledge practices available to students. On basis of empirical data sets covering text-based supervisory sessions in two different academic settings, nursing and engineering, the presentation aims at exemplifying and discuss empirical instances where genre implies situated participation in historically developed, epistemic practices through discourse. How can societal interests such as global citizenship or sustainability become scientific matters through genres used for academic purposes? What challenges does the teaching of scientific subject content by means of genres involve?

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