Educating for the future: a critical discourse analysis of the academic field of intercultural business communication.
Lancaster University, Linguistics and English Language,
The present investigation analyzes critically the discursive and generic make-up, the conceptual base and educational goals of a new interdisciplinary academic field of enquiry called Intercultural Business Communication as it is pursued in the context of the Germany higher education system. Its purpose is twofold: Firstly, it attempts to bring to light and debate the actual validity claims made by these authors in respect to socio-economic changes and the educational promise of intercultural understanding through intercultural training. Secondly, it shows how aspects of context (e.g. interdisciplinary relations, disciplinary intricacies, hegemonic discourses, changes in the higher educational system and its relation to other social spheres) can impact upon the discourse and genre of social science in general and this particular field in particular.
By drawing upon Critical Discourse Analysis as a theoretical stance and a methodological path, a corpus of 24 academic articles published in this area is analyzed in relation to the recontextualization of socio-economic changes (presences and absences of social actors, processes and evaluation), the legitimation of educational goals through reference to these changes, the conceptualization of key terms (like culture, the other etc.), the implications of these theoretical decisions for the possibility of increased, mutual understanding and the form of academic writing (argumentation, debate, genre change). While the thesis aims to identify specific discursive and generic patterns, open them to contestation, and to explain their presence in these texts, it is also strongly normative and discusses questions related to the changing understanding of the nature, form and function of academic knowledge production in society.
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