DiO Workshop in pictures

20 09 2009

Some DiO pictures, courtesy of Craig & Ellen.

Celia Roberts is the real deal.


So is the Zebrastraat conference venue.

Two people I love: Chris & Katja

Listening to Celia's question

Listening to Celia’s question about authorial voice in ethnography.

2009 DiO delegates

The 2009 DiO delegates

DiO Workshop day III: final plenaries

18 09 2009

Four, yes four, plenary presentations were scheduled on the Friday afternoon. Two corpus linguistic studies kicked off the written corporate communication theme. Birgitta Meex & Heidi Verplaetse (Lessius/KULeuven) compared German and English corporate mission statements. Berna Hendriks & Margot Van Mulken (University of Nijmegen) then presented an analysis of CEO communication.

The final two presentations were on…journalism. Ha! Martina Temmerman & Els Belsack (Erasmus University College Brussels) talked about positioning and self-representation during televised political interviews. Finally, Ellen Van Praet (Ghent University) and yours truly went the reflective/methodological route. We opted not to present micro data and instead focus on the pros and cons of secondary analysis.

Thank you: Geert, Katja, Craig, Chris, Sylvain, Priscilla and all the delegates for coming out. Hope to see you again at a DiO event.

DiO Workshop day III: PhD colloquium

18 09 2009

Third and final DiO day. The morning slots were dedicated to a PhD colloquium (in collaboration with the Association for Business Communication). Ten people presented their research in five parallel sessions. Each participant was appointed one or two mentors.

I attended four presentations: first up was Kristian Hursti (Helsinki School of Economics). His talk on financial forecasts doubled as Kristian’s maiden speech, but it did not show. Kristian previously worked as a financial journalist at Reuters and has only recently embarked on a PhD project. My future colleague Jasper Vandenberghe (University College Ghent) then gave a presentation on self-justification in press releases.

Sabine Rettinger’s (Ludwig-Maximilians Universität München) talk on competence displays in – to quote Chris Braecke – Socratic coaching interactions illustrate, among other things, how coaches position themselves interactionally vis-à-vis their clients. The final presentation I attended was by Hana Blazkova (University of Birmingham) on involvement strategies in so-called business development network presentations.

DiO Workshop Day II: plenary talks

17 09 2009

The second day of DiO was kicked off by Gerlinde Mautner (University of Vienna). Her presentation showed how (neo-liberal) marketing and entrepreneurial discourses have penetrated both the religious and the secular in organizations. Gerlinde has a book coming out on market discourses.

Next, Sarah Scheepers (KULeuven, Public Management institute) talked about competency discourses in diversity management of the Flemish public sector. Looking at diversity action plans, Sarah found that competency discourses are full of administrative neologisms, do not mention notions like inequality and discrimination and are geared towards homogenizing (and de-politicizing) individual differences.

Three presentations then followed on meetings. Jo Angouri (University of West England) took a Community of Practice approach to how professional identities are performed during meetings – “the practical alternative to work” – at a British multinational engineering company. Harry Mazeland (University of Groningen) took a meticulous conversation analytic approach to Dutch-language business meetings. Finally, Jonathan Clifton (Université Lille 3) and Dorien Van De Mieroop (Lessius University College) focused on identity construction in decision-making talk (based on audio records made in 1962) between President John F. Kennedy and a NASA chief.

The afternoon was organized around two thematic slots: communicative competence in language learning settings and oral interaction in institutions. I took a program break to practice my own presentation and prepare for my ahum ‘mentoring’ role (more on that tomorrow). Birte Pawlack’s (University of Hamburg) talk on ad-hoc interpreters in healthcare settings deconstructed a number of ‘knowledges’ (reflective, interpretive, linguistic). Holger Limberg (University of Oldenburg) concluded the plenary sessions with a presentation on student talk during academic office hours.

Coming to you live: DiO conf. program

17 08 2009

I’m pleased to announce that the conference program for the 2nd International Workshop on Discourse in Organizations (DiO) (disclaimer: I’m a founding member of DiO) is now live. This three day workshop features two keynote lectures, eleven plenary paper presentations and a PhD Colloquium in collaboration with the Association of Business Communication. If you’re interested in attending the workshop, please take a look at the registration page.

Flanders, ‘land’ of a thousand clichés

11 06 2009

The Guardian is running a ‘luxury break’ competition. “You and a friend could experience European chic in style”. This is how the advertorial describes Flanders:

Flanders is one of Europe’s hidden gems. Home to stunning architecture, fantastic art, great food, brilliant bars and chic fashion boutiques, it has something for everyone.

And there’s loads to explore – the Flemish-speaking area of Belgium encompasses such delights as Antwerp, Bruges, Brussels, Ghent, Leuven, Mechelen, and Ostend and its coast. If you love city breaks, you’ll love Flanders.

There’s a video demonstrating just how European chic Flanders is. To many people, Flanders is incredibly dull. Jeremy Clarkson thinks so. When I lived in the States, some of my friends thought Flanders was a socialist hell hole. Flanders is also often associated with the right wing reputation of Vlaams Belang. What images, stereotypes, jokes, etc do you associate with Flanders?

2nd DiO Int’l workshop: abstracts online

21 03 2009

I’m pleased to announce the papers which have made the cut for our second International Workshop on Discourse in Organizations, to be held at the Zebrastraat, September 16-19, 2009. This workshop offers a small-scale, all-plenary interactive forum with a limited number of participants and plenty of time for discussion. In addition, the event will  include an International PhD colloquium to be organized in co-operation with the Association for Business Communication (ABC).

The workshop theme is competence on display, i.e. the various ways in which individuals or groups in organizations discursively present themselves as competent, as having the ability and willingness (possibly including generic knowledge, motive, social role, expertise and skills) to perform tasks or functions on a superior level.

The workshop abstracts are now live, and so are the keynote abstracts. We are pleased to welcome Celia ‘the Chaka Khan of sociolinguistics’ Roberts and Francesca Bargiela. The call for papers is now closed, but if you would like to attend the workshop, you can register here.

Pragmatics becomes open access journal

15 01 2009

In a recent Journalism Studies article, Jane Singer questions the academic authority of peer reviewed print journals in a digital world. She argues that anonymous reviewers no longer solely decide on what quality scholarship is. Indeed, in the academy, “getting published counts, but getting read should count too”. This is because

determination of quality is now two-tiered. One tier is provided by traditional gatekeepers, the editors and reviewers, who (at the moment) still decide on initial publication. But an important new tier comes from readers, as indicated by links, hits, references and so on.

(Singer 2008: 601)

I couldn’t agree more. Funding, tenure and promotion are still very much tied to getting published in (preferably A1) journals. Getting cited counts too, but less so. I think it is time to correct this imbalance and take readers’ decisions about quality into account.

Open access is one way journals and authors can gain visibility. That is why I applaud the move by the International Pragmatics Association journal Pragmatics to jump on the open access bandwagon. From now on, IPrA members can choose between online access or online access and print copies. After a 12 month embargo period, all published materials (currently comprising over 9,000 pages of peer-reviewed articles) will be freely accessible in the Pragmatics archive.

2009 KIM forum: Journalism in discredit

27 12 2008

On Jan. 21, 2009, investigative journalist and Flat Earth News author Nick Davies will talk about journalism, churnalism and PR at the 2009 KIM forum in Utrecht, The Netherlands. I’ll be attending the debate and hope to talk to Nick Davies afterwards. My interest in this event was further sparked by the news that Radboud University is replicating the political economy of news production – i.c. content analyses of news sources and corresponding news texts  – that Flat Earth News was based on.

Wanted: Gumprechts green paint scheme

19 12 2008

If I ever buy a new road or tri bike, I won’t settle for anything less than a Gumprechts pitviper green paint scheme.

René Ries, WWF)

Gumprechts green pitviper (photo credit: René Ries, WWF)

Read all about the WWF’s phenomenal biological discoveries in the Greater Mekong region of Southeast Asia in this  textbook example of a well-crafted press release.