Dana Chahal

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Academic writing has been recently conceptualized as “collective social practices” (Hyland 2004, 1) constructed through particular genre types and discipline-specific discourses. A significant body of the literature examining genre and disciplinarity has focused on the research article (RA) as a central type of academic writing practice. However, the RA genre has been principally investigated in Science-based disciplines and comparatively overlooked in the Humanities. This paper is an exploratory textual genre analysis study of the rhetorical structure of RA Introductions (RAIs) in Cultural Studies (CS). It considers whether Swales’ (1990) widely accepted Create a Research Space model (CARS) can be applied to the RAIs of this relatively little studied Humanities area. The findings show that while the examined RAIs can be considered to generally conform to the CARS model, they display noteworthy variation in relation to the obligatory status of moves; the occurrence and realization of the steps used; and the means of referring to the literature. The paper argues that the observed variation may be interpreted as embodying the languages of legitimation of CS (Maton 2000a, b) as produced in the writing of its experts; and discusses the results according to their implications on English for Specific/Academic Purposes pedagogy. The study thus reiterates the critical interplay between genre and disciplinarity in the social construction of written knowledge.

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