Lorés-Sanz, Rosa: “Digital spaces of knowledge dissemination and visibility: Promotional discourse in European research projects websites”
Professional and discursive practices within Academia are undergoing a deep process of evolution and change due basically to two phenomena which feed each other: the academics’ increasing demands and pressures to gain visibility for their research and the affordances of digital platforms, which guarantee global dissemination of results and, consequently, the strengthening of the required visibility. Although digital genres are increasingly an object of study in linguistics and associated fields, there remain many digital spaces in which basic questions can be explored, such as what constitutes a genre in a virtual space, which communicative purposes these genres have and how they are constructed rhetorically and linguistically. In this presentation I attempt to explore positive markers of evaluation (i.e. evaluative adjectives and adverbs) as main indicators of promotional language in the area of webpages for international research projects. Evaluative markers will be here identified along the lines of Martin and White’s (2005) appraisal system, in combination with other approaches to evaluation such as Hunston (2001), Hunston and Thompson (2001) and Biber (2006). For such purposes, 20 webpages by European research projects will be explored, focusing on “showcasing genres” (Luzón 2017) which, under different labels (About, About the project, etc.), aim to justify, promote, and, ultimately, give visibility to the project at stake. The study proposed necessarily involves a rhetorical characterization of the texts as instances of showcasing genres identified in the corpus, focusing on the communicative purposes they fulfill and the relations they maintain with other genres on the webpage. Preliminary results show that a full understanding of the rhetorical and linguistic mechanisms which facilitate the promotional function of these genres is considerably determined by the affordances that these websites provide, allowing the readers to navigate the site and actively construct their own reading path.