The discursive construction of academic excellence. Classifying SSH researchers through text-processing practices
Principal investigator: Johannes Angermuller
ERC funded Starting Grant 03/2013-02/2018
PhD student (EHESS): Nawel Ait Ali
- Centre for Applied Linguistics (CAL), University of Warwick, Coventry, UK
- Centre d'Etude des mouvements sociaux (CEMS), Ecole des Hautes Etudes en Sciences Sociales (EHESS), Paris, France
- with the cooperation of University North-Western Switzerland (Fachhochschule Nordwest-Schweiz) (FHNW)
Next application deadline for PhD scholarships on "analysis of academic discourse in SSH": 15 April 2014.
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DISCONEX investigates two types of text-processing practices by means of which excellence is attributed to academic researchers in different national and disciplinary fields of the social sciences and humanities (SSH). By focusing on “counting” and “understanding” as two different but interrelated practices of representing academic actors in terms of excellence, the research project will produce theoretically informed and empirically grounded insights into the social organization of SSH discourse. Drawing from pragmatic, poststructuralist and microsociological perspectives, the research team investigates the discursive construction of excellence as a practical accomplishment of readers cooperating with texts. In a two-step research design, the social organization of academic discourse will be investigated as a knowledge and power complex. In a first step, we carry out reader interviews with confirmed SSH researchers from France, Germany and the U.S. to investigate how membership is negotiated in specialized knowledge communities of the SSH. In a second step, we investigate non-academic practices of processing large text collections in order to account for how academic producers are ranked by evaluation professionals and calculative technologies. By comparing representations of excellence produced by academic and non-academic actors, the research project will show how academic, professional and technological readers account for the representations of other types of readers respectively. In the light of the complex interpretive problems involved in the reading and writing of academic texts, we will produce reflexive knowledge about how SSH knowledge is produced and assessed in the light of new modes of academic knowledge production. Given the important role that written texts play in SSH discourse, the exchange between sociology and linguistics could help establish a new field: the social sciences and humanities studies (SSHS).
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