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Unpoetic Justice: Ideology and the individual in the genre of the presentence investigation

Converse, Caren Wakerman
June 4, 2015

Source: (2012) Journal of Business and Technical Communication 26(4) 442-478

Despite the legal and social ramifications of presentence investigation reports,
little is known about them outside the legal community. The author uses the
frameworks of genre theory and activity systems to analyze the documents,
the criminal justice system’s ideology of sentencing, and the statutes and
regulations that govern the reports. What emerges is an ambiguous and
contradictory genre at odds with the philosophy of individualized justice
underpinning its origins, a genre that has eschewed narrative for the sake of
objectivity. The article further underscores the value of employing a flexible
theoretical framework when studying workplace genres.


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