Shared ground revisited

Andrew Chesterman
Table of contents

Responses to the “Shared ground” paper (Chesterman and Arrojo, in Target 12:1) seem to fall into three classes. Some colleagues are sympathetic to the enterprise, and offer additional comments or an alternative emphasis (e.g. Gile and Bell in 13:1, Shlesinger in 13:1). Others seem to agree with the general aim but have major criticisms of the original starting point or the way the theses were formulated (e.g. Malmkjær and Halverson in 12:2). And some rather query the point of the whole idea (e.g. Mossop in 13:1). When we discussed this Forum debate at my own research seminar in Helsinki, the majority opinion, especially among younger colleagues, was that there was no need to establish any shared ground at all: research would be more exciting and productive if a hundred flowers were allowed to grow in joyful anarchy. However, this view has so far been in a minority in the responses published in Target, although the variation among the responses shows that the field is far from showing a consensus, and although many contributors stressed the value of multiple perspectives (such as Neubert in 13:2).

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