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The presentation of self in scholarly life: Identity and marginalization in academic homepages

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Abstract

The academic homepage is now a ubiquitous genre of scholarly life, but despite considerable interest in issues of identity and the ways individuals self-consciously manage the impression they give of themselves, it has been slow to attract the attention of ESP researchers. This may be because of the institutional control exercised by employing universities over this genre which tends to marginalize its subjects. The personal homepages of academics, however, offer considerable insights into disciplinary communities and the construction of a public identity in the context of corporate branding. In this paper, I explore 100 academic homepages in two contrasting fields, subdivided by rank and gender, to identify the extent of this marginalization and the space remaining to academics. Through an analysis of what is said and how it is presented, as text, design and hyperlinks, I show how individuals are positioned by corporate discourses yet manage to carve a sense of self to assert professional credibility. The analysis shows something of how language interacts with other semiotic resources in this environment and how seniority, gender and disciplinary membership cross-cut institutional representations of academics as employees.

Details

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)286-297
Number of pages12
JournalEnglish for Specific Purposes
Volume30
Issue number4
Early online date28 May 2011
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Oct 2011
Peer-reviewedYes

Keywords

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  • Academic discourse, Corporate branding, Homepages, Identity, Multimodal texts

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