25. Invoking attitude: the play of graduation in appraising discourse
University of Technology Sydney, Australia
J.R. Martin [+]
University of Sydney
In this chapter we explore the ways in which academic writers persuade and align, in part through the strategic encoding of instances of inscribed positive or negative attitude, especially appreciation, but also, most importantly, through valuing phenomena indirectly. In particular we have explore multiple means by which academic writers can flag attitude by scaling ideational meanings. In evaluating other research in their field, academic writers show a very strong preference for this indirect evaluation (Hood, 2004a; 2004b). Writers subjectively position ideational meaning on a cline, implying a relative value. So construing research as a graduated activity enables ‘attitudinal’ work to be done while retaining an underlying ‘objectivity’. It allows academic writers to reconcile the apparently contradictory expectations for objectivity and critique. It might also be argued that an avoidance of inscribed attitude in favour of the flagging of attitude by scaled meanings establishes a particular kind of solidarity – one of relative positioning within a community, rather than one of in-group or out-group identity. By such means academic writers maintain solidarity with a research community while at the same time establishing difference and therefore space for their own research.