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Online petition as a genre in the context of feminist discourse

The paper explores the online petition as a genre in feminist discourse. The author aims at revealing how the meanings are constructed that characterise modern feminist discourse as well as how structural and textual features are related to the social charge of the genre. The data contain 18 online petitions written in different countries, whose authors set the task to change the position and living conditions of women. In terms of methodology, the author draws on social constructionism, critical discourse analysis and the theory of speech genres as well as offering the analytic model that covers a few aspects. These include defining functional intentionality of the genre, establishing major thematic groups of feminist petitions and revealing the mechanisms used to construct the feminine identity of the author. The results of the analysis have shown that the petitions problematise specific aspects of womens’ lives and thematically range from demands to provide satisfactory living conditions to appeals to create symbolic cultural artefacts. In the paper, the petition is qualified as a genre of imperative and evaluation, which is actualised through performatives and an array of evaluative lexical units that construct the feminine identity as opposed to the masculine one.

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