Building on insights provided by Bhatia (2004), and Hyland (2000, 2002, 2005) this study investigates the generic features of the advertising discourse of “essay writing services”, primarily in English-speaking countries. As an emerging genre that is specific to computer-mediated communication, essay writing promotion appears to be gaining not only in verbal and visual sophistication, but also in argumentative and persuasive force. This type of communication uses the electronic medium to promote services that are easily distributed in a semi-clandestine manner thanks to the intrinsic features of the web-mediated environment. These services appear to be playing an ever-expanding role not only in undergraduate but also in postgraduate writing, with serious implications for the quality of higher education and the authenticity of the qualifications awarded by universities. An admixture of far-reaching technological innovation, wide-ranging social changes associated with globalisation, and the rapid growth of higher education appears to have led to the expansion of this form of academic malpractice. The study highlights the discordance between the definition in institutional discourse of various forms of plagiarism in academic writing, and the description of these practices in the advertising discourse of online “essay writing services” that attempt to construct an image of legitimate, reputable and trustworthy companies. An analysis of the generic norms of this semi-occluded discourse community provides evidence that practices once on the margins of the academy appear to be moving towards the mainstream, with the practitioners making strident claims to legitimacy.
“Every Writer is Checked for Plagiarism”: Occluded Authorship in Academic Writing / Bromwich, William John. - STAMPA. - 1:(2010), pp. 43-44. (Intervento presentato al convegno Diachronic Perspectives on Genres in Specialized Communication tenutosi a Gargnano del Garda nel 24-26 June 2010).