An exploration of the impact of students' prior genre knowledge on their constructions of 'audience' in a Marketing course at postgraduate level
English for Specific Purposes
Academic Development Programme, University of Cape Town, Hoerikwaggo Building, Private Bag, Rondebosch 7701, South Africa
This article explores the development of audience awareness for two English additional language (EAL) graduate students making the transition from undergraduate Social Science disciplines into the professional discipline of Marketing at a South African university. The article examines the ways in which their conceptualisations of 'audience' shape their negotiation of the generic move structure informing a dominant genre within the discipline: the written case analysis. I argue that the students' struggle with realising the communicative purposes of the genre in their analyses has implications for how they engage with disciplinary theory within crucial moves. Data yielded by semi-structured interviews, reflection papers, as well as selected case analyses written by the students in the initial months of their postgraduate year illustrate how this struggle can be traced to a mismatch between their embodied understandings of the concept of 'audience' which are transported from undergraduate learning contexts, and 'audience' as prescribed by the communicative purpose of the written case analysis within a professional discipline. In making this argument, the article examines the ways in which an antecedent genre, the Social Science argumentative essay, contributes to this mismatch. The article concludes by outlining the pedagogical implications of the findings from an ESP perspective. © 2013 Elsevier Ltd.