Dissertation > Language, writing > FOREIGN > English > Writing,rhetoric

Citations and the Construction of Writer Identity in Academic Research Articles

Author YuJieZuo
Tutor HanJinLong
School South China University of Technology
Course Foreign Linguistics and Applied Linguistics
Keywords citations research article Engagement system construction of writer identity
CLC H315
Type Master's thesis
Year 2013
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Academic writing is a highly socialized behavior (Hyland,2000), in which writersnegotiate knowledge and construct self-hood (Ivanic,1998) in specific academic community.Citation, as one of the most defining generic characteristics of academic prose, can be definedas the dialogue among the writer, the author (other researchers whose works has been cited)and the putative readers. Identity is constructed in interactions and dialogues. Thus, citationalso plays an important role in constructing writer identity.This study reports on the dialogism and heteroglossia embedded in citations and thenotion of writer identity by examining32world-wide reputable research articles from theperspective of Engagement system. Our findings suggest that citations can be further dividedinto endorsed citations, acknowledged citations and distanced citations in accordance with thewriter’s positive, neutral and critical stance towards the cited proposition. Among these threesub-categories, endorsed citation is the most frequent form of citation, followed byacknowledged citation. Distanced citations occur sparingly and are often co-texted withhedges to soften the critical voice.In this study, the notion of writer identity is double-facets. It refers to authorial self (thetextual-created role--critic) and discoursal self, namely the credible and authoritative persona.On one hand, the writer can portray him/herself as a positive, neutral and negative critic byemploying endorsed, acknowledged and distanced citation respectively. One the other hand,the engrained evaluations in citations contribute to the construction of writers’ credibility andauthority.This research tentatively explores the rhetorical effect of citations in constructing writeridentity in light of Engagement system. We hope to provide a new research perspective oncitations so as to gain in-depth insights for Chinese researchers and students alike for theirunderstanding and using citations. Also, we hope the insights derived from this research willstrengthen their constructionist awareness in identity-constructing and knowledge-negotiatingin academia.

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