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Globalization, i.e. the spatio-temporal processes of change leading to a transformation in the organization of human affairs, is said to have started as long ago as the end of the 15th century. This first wave of globalization was subsequently followed by two others. The third wave of globalization, which began after 2000, has made the world noticeably smaller. In fact, technological innovations have sharply increased the availability of new modes and channels of communication. As a result, the sharing of knowledge and information all around the world has substantially increased and this has prompted the emergence of new 'globalizing genres'. In addition, it has led to the implementation of a series of adaptations to the existing genres, in an attempt to guarantee their success and survival in an era which celebrates the need for a 'global reach'. In order to investigate these 'winds of change' in generic studies, the present volume combines a historical perspective with a detailed survey of different contemporary discourses and genres situated in an array of contexts of interaction. Accordingly, the empirically informed analyses of discourses and genres do not only focus on the textual, intertextual and interdiscursive features, but also on the institutional, organizational, professional and socio-cultural settings, i.e. all those aspects which show how genres reflect changing disciplinary and professional cultures. As a consequence, and in line with the multi-faceted nature of genre, different reading paths can be followed in the present volume. On the one hand, it is possible to make a distinction between professional, institutional and academic contexts. On the other hand, the concept of change will also be investigated by focusing on oral, written and web-mediated genres. Throughout the volume, the different reading paths aim at highlighting the influence of the three waves of globalization on genre evolution, thus contributing to providing evidence in favour of the homogenization or fragmentation hypotheses, which claim new 'global genres' are outnumbering, or are outnumbered by, the proliferation of a myriad of new, customized genres.
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Franca Poppi is Associate Professor of English Linguistics and Translation at the University of Modena and Reggio Emilia. Her current research interests are focused on English as an international lingua franca, intercultural business communication, written corporate communication and corporate web-site communication. She is on the Advisory Board for the Profile Journal, Issues in Teachers' Professional Development. She is also a member of the review team for the Asian ESP Journal. Winnie Cheng is Professor of English, Associate Dean of the Faculty of Humanities, and Director of the Research Centre for Professional Communication in English (RCPCE) at the Department of English, the Hong Kong Polytechnic University. Her research interests include language studies in intercultural and professional contexts, ESP, corpus linguistics, conversation analysis, critical discourse analysis, and pragmatics.
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