Knowledge Dissemination, Ethics and Ideology in Specialised Communication: Linguistic and Discursive Perspectives ( Milan, 29 November – 1 December  2018)

Members of the Milan Unit of PRIN Project “Knowledge dissemination across media in English: continuity

and change in discourse strategies, ideologies and epistemologies” (2017-2019) and CLAVIER Directory

Board members are pleased to announce that the CLAVIER 18 Conference will be held in Milan from November 29th to December 1st 2018.

The conference theme is “Knowledge dissemination, ethics and ideology in specialised communication: linguistic and discursive perspectives”. The Conference intends to explore the linguistic and discursive aspects of ethical and ideological issues in knowledge dissemination. This is an especially consequential topic, since knowledge dissemination by definition involves transfer and transformation. Thus, it inevitably entails changes, which may be simply due to the recontextualisation of knowledge for the purpose of circulating it and making it accessible to specific target audiences. In many cases, however, in the process of dissemination, knowledge is manipulated intentionally in order to make it more interesting or palatable (e.g. in journalism), or to adapt it to the speaker’s/writer’s stance, preconceptions or expectations, or to more or less implicitly convey ideological messages by conferring a degree of slant or bias on knowledge, sometimes bordering on outright manipulation and mystification. This applies not only to the transmission of knowledge within the scientific community but also, even more cogently, to popularisation. Of course, an ethics of knowledge dissemination on the part of scientists, popularisers and the media would to some extent prevent these problems. Under this perspective, special interest lies in the discursive representation – both in specialised and in popularising communication – of ideologically and ethically relevant issues, and in particular of those concerning ‘sensitive’ topics, for instance in the life sciences (e.g. medicine, bioethics, biotechnology, genetics), in the environmental sciences, in corporate social responsibility discourse, etc., and

in their moral, ideological, legal, economic, political, and religious implications. Ethical issues also emerge

in research on specialised discourse. They include questions regarding the possible impact of observation on the investigated processes, the intrusiveness of the observer on the authenticity of the data, the possible bias inherent in the choice of objects of investigation and in the collection of data and their interpretation, due to

researchers’ expectations or their ideological convictions. All these issues are to be explored and investigated in their linguistic and discursive aspects and implications, as well as in the perspective of translation and interpreting. Synchronic, diachronic, contrastive, interlinguistic and intercultural approaches are equally welcome.

Conference themes include:

  1. Transformations undergone by sensitive specialised knowledge in the dissemination process, in traditional media and in the new media.
  2. Bioethical themes in texts produced within the domains of medicine, genetics and biotechnology (e.g. assisted reproductive technology, surrogate motherhood, genetic manipulation, cloning, euthanasia, sex re-assignment, etc.) and in sustainability and environment conservation discourses.
  3. Ethical and ideological implications in business communication and in the representation of corporate strategies and activities.
  4. Ideological implications in legal discourse (judicial, legislative, academic), with special regard to sensitive issues (e.g. sexism, ageism, racism, end of life, artificial reproductive technologies) and cutting edge technological advances (e.g. in the life sciences).
  5. Ideology and ethics in translation and interpreting in specialised domains (healthcare, legal, political, diplomatic, business, migration settings).
  6. Criticality of information transmission for decision making in an individual or a collective dimension (e.g. political decisions, intervention measures in emergencies, informed consent for therapies or surgery).
  7. Ethics and ideology in research on specialised and professional discourse.

The Conference is organised within the framework of the National Research Project: “Knowledge Dissemination across media in English: Continuity and change in discourse strategies, ideologies, and epistemologies” financed by the Ministry of Education, University and Research (MIUR) (2015TJ8ZAS).

Keynote Speakers

Keynote speakers who have so far accepted to participate include:

James Archibald, University of Montréal

Srikant Sarangi, University of Aalborg

Martin Reisigl, University of Vienna

CLAVIER 2018 programme