Accessibility of discoursal data in critical genre analysis: international commercial arbitration practice

Vijay K. Bhatia


Critical genre analysis, especially targeting specific professional practices, crucially depends on the availability of discursive data from the professional practice under investigation, which is not always easily accessible. In this paper, I take up a typical example of this kind of difficulty focusing on an international initiative, in which I have been involved for the last several years, with collaboration from more than twenty research teams from as many countries. By drawing on discoursal data (narrative, documentary and interactional), it is possible to look at the motivations for interdiscursive processes and procedures. However, the so-called duty to strict confidentiality observed and practiced in international arbitration practice makes it difficult to get access to data from arbitration practice and thus to undertake such critical genre-based interdisciplinary research. In this paper, I will focus on some of the important issues involved in this study of professional practice and discuss implications of this generally assumed requirement of confidentiality, and its implications for research in and development of the institution of arbitration. I also propose alternatives to collection of data from arbitration practice to make such research possible.


Critical genre analysis; Professional practices; Arbitration practices

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Ling. disc. Universidade do Sul de Santa Catarina, Santa Catarina, ISSN 1982-4017

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