How lists, bullet points and tables recontextualize social practice: A multimodal study of management language in Swedish universities
2015 (English)In: Critical Discourse Studies, ISSN 1740-5904, E-ISSN 1740-5912, Vol. 12, no 4, 463-481 p.Article in journal (Refereed) Published
In critical discourse analysis, we have learned much about the nature of the marketized language that now dominates public institutions such as universities, playing a role in changing their identities. But less is known about the processes whereby this language enters the everyday practices of these institutions through documents that are used to manage teaching and research. What is the role of language in the shift to the way these activities are internally organized, managed, run and evaluated in terms of productivity and market-based principles? In this paper we analyse a chain of documents taken from a wider corpus of management documents in Swedish universities to show how this language recontextualizes the practices of teaching and research. Our focus is on the important role played by lists, bullet points and tables and how these are central to decoupling language from work processes and so legitimizing this marketized discourse. The affordances of these multimodal structures allow complex processes and social relations to be abstracted, fragmented and treated as things. They are also important in allowing documents to form a complex self-referential information infrastructure.
Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
2015. Vol. 12, no 4, 463-481 p.
manageralism, neoliberalism, critical discourse analysis, multimodality, affordance
Research subject Other research area
IdentifiersURN: urn:nbn:se:sh:diva-27576DOI: 10.1080/17405904.2015.1039556ISI: 000359824000005ScopusID: 2-s2.0-84939262329OAI: oai:DiVA.org:sh-27576DiVA: diva2:814706