Discursive Practices in Disciplinary and Professional Contexts


  • Vijay K. Bhatia Department of English and Communication, City University of Hong Kong




Discourse Analysis, Genre Analysis, Professional Communication, Organizational Discourse, Discursive Practices, Professional Discourse, Disciplinary Discourses, Multi-perspective Genre Analysis


Analysis of professional discourse, which often forms the basis of English for Specific Purposes (ESP) theory and practice, has often been constrained by its focus on textual characteristics, paying little attention to professional practices in specific disciplinary, institutional, or organizational contexts within which these discourses are embedded. This has led to a divide between discourse and genre analysts, on the one hand, and organizational analysts and professional communication theorists, on the other, even though all of them seem to pursue similar objectives. One of the consequences of such mutually exclusive perspectives is that they often take only a partial view of discursive, professional, institutional, and organizational practices. Just as professional communication scholars pay less attention to language use, similarly ESP practitioners do not view professional practices critically. Organizational theorists, in a similar fashion, tend to ignore discursive practices to focus entirely on text-external factors for the study of organizational behaviour. This paper argues that discursive practices within specific professional cultures have multiple perspectives and hence their analysis requires integration of discursive practices with disciplinary, professional, organizational and institutional practices, which are often realized through specialized discourses. The main purpose of the paper therefore is to review recent work in some of these diverse to propose an integration of text-internal as well as text-external perspectives on the analysis of professional discourses, so that we can have a more informed and comprehensive view of the discursive realities of disciplinary and professional practices.

Author Biography

Vijay K. Bhatia, Department of English and Communication, City University of Hong Kong

Dr. Vijay Bhatia is a Professor in English at the City University of Hong Kong, and Adjunct Professor, Department of Linguistics at Macquarie University in Australia. His main research interests are genre analysis of professional discourse, including, legal, business, newspaper, advertising and other promotional genres; ESP (Theory and Practice); simplification of legal and other public documents; cross-cultural and disciplinary variation in professional discourse. He has published in most of the relevant international journals in these areas. He is also on the Editorial Advisory Boards of several international Journals. His book on Analysing Genre: Language Use in Professional Settings (Longman) is widely used by researchers interested in discourse and genre theory and practice. His recent book Worlds of Discourse: a Genre-based View (2004) has appeared in Advances in Applied Linguistics by Continuum International.


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How to Cite

Bhatia, V. K. (2008). Discursive Practices in Disciplinary and Professional Contexts. Linguistics and the Human Sciences, 2(1), 5–28. https://doi.org/10.1558/lhs.v2i1.5