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Internet advice

Locher, Miriam A.. (2013) Internet advice. In: Pragmatics of Computer-Mediated Communication. Berlin, pp. 339-362.

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Abstract

Advice-giving and advice-seeking are common everyday activities. In recent decades, the Internet has been adopted by professionals and non-professionals alike for imparting knowledge, support, and advice-giving. Advice can be studied on the level of speech acts (it is by no means restricted to the performative verb advise) and on the level of activity (i.e., text type). In this chapter, the focus is primarily on the text type advice column. Advice has been studied in many different research fields. The main thrusts of research so far have focused either on face-to-face interaction or on print data; in particular, the printed text type of advice columns has received quite some attention in the literature (see section 4 below). With the exception of speech act studies (e.g., Searle 1969), the literature on face-to-face advice has mainly focused on institutional contexts rather than on peer-to-peer advice (but see DeCapua and Huber 1995; Jefferson and Lee 1992). Examples include visits by health care nurses to first-time mothers (Heritage and Sefi 1992), HIV counseling sessions (e.g., Silverman 1997), and medical encounters more generally (e.g., Leppänen 1998; Pilnick 1999, 2001; Sarangi and Clarke 2002). Counseling and advising have also been researched in academic contexts (e.g., Bresnahan 1992; Erickson and Shultz 1982; He 1994; Waring 2007) and on call-in radio (e.g., Gaik 1992; Hudson 1990; Hutchby 1995). The fields of cognitive linguistics, psychology, and communication studies have tackled the topic of advising, as well (e.g., Goldsmith and MacGeorge 2000; Miller and Gergen 1998; Wood and Griffiths 2007). (For a review of the literature on advice-giving more generally, see Locher, 2006a, Chapter 3.) Taken together, these studies show that individual types of advice-giving vary, and each deserves to be examined in its own right; as Leppänen (1998: 210) puts it: “The study of advice should both carefully explicate the details of the production of advice and show how these details are systematic products of the interactants’ orientations to specific features of the institutions”. Leppänen’s recommendation places the study of advice firmly within the field of pragmatics, in that the focus is on language in use as employed by individuals who are part of groups that form practices. After a brief discussion of terminology pertaining to advice-giving (section 2), this chapter focuses on computer-mediated advice (section 3) and in particular, on the topic of health issues and the text type of expert advice columns. This allows for a comparison of online advice columns with their printed relatives and a discussion of the extent to which technological mediation influences advice-giving online (sections 4 and 5). The latter discussion is especially inspired by Herring’s (2007) faceted classification scheme for computer-mediated discourse. However, while recognizing the importance of technical mediation in shaping interaction, the chapter aims to avoid a computer-deterministic stance. Finally, areas in need of further research are identified in section 6.
Faculties and Departments:04 Faculty of Humanities and Social Sciences > Departement Sprach- und Literaturwissenschaften > Fachbereich Englische Sprach- und Literaturwissenschaft > English Linguistics (Locher)
UniBasel Contributors:Locher, Miriam A.
Item Type:Book Section, refereed
Book Section Subtype:Further Contribution in a Book
Bibsysno:Link to catalogue
Publisher:De Gruyter
ISBN:978-3-11-021445-1
Series Name:Handbooks of Pragmatics
Issue Number:9
Note:Publication type according to Uni Basel Research Database: Book item
Language:English
Identification Number:
Last Modified:18 Jul 2017 13:04
Deposited On:25 Apr 2014 08:01

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