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Standing ‘in’ and ‘out’ from the crowd in a small genre: proximity and positioning in applied linguists’ email signatures

Aslan, E. ORCID: and Jaworska, S. ORCID: (2024) Standing ‘in’ and ‘out’ from the crowd in a small genre: proximity and positioning in applied linguists’ email signatures. Applied Linguistics. ISSN 1477-450X

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To link to this item DOI: 10.1093/applin/amae019


Neoliberal demands in higher education (HE) amplified by the affordances of the digital have led to the emergence of various academic branding practices, one of which is the use of email signatures for identity work and self-promotion. Examining a corpus of 200 email signatures created by applied linguists between 2011 and 2020, this study identifies core and optional moves and how the moves orient to proximity (scholarly communities) and positioning (reputational work). The quantitative analysis of the dataset supported by semi-structured interviews with a group of academics shows that while core moves provide basic identity information, optional moves are used strategically for positioning. A comparison by career stage reveals that mid-career academics utilize more positioning than early-career and established academics. The positioning moves in the second half of the decade draw more on academic achievements, multimodality, and digital presence. The study contributes to an enhanced understanding of how a small and originally inconspicuous genre becomes a space for academic branding and evaluates this development against the increasingly competitive and precarious conditions of the neoliberal HE sector.

Item Type:Article
Divisions:Arts, Humanities and Social Science > School of Literature and Languages > English Language and Applied Linguistics
ID Code:115550
Publisher:Oxford Journals

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