Book Review. Genres in the Internet (2009)

Book Review by Marina Santini (Forthcoming. Corpus Linguistics and Linguistic Theory)

Janet Giltrow and Dieter Stein (editors), Genres in the Internet. John Benjamin Publishing Company, Amsterdam-Philadelphia, 2009, 294 pp.

Genres in the Internet makes an important contribution to the analysis and interpretation of web genres. Although the number of analyzed genres is limited to online educational genres, online literary criticism, digital folklore and blogs (namely corporate blogs, blog posts, homeless blogs, public affairs blogs, blog’s ancestors), the book offers analytical insights and presents original perspectives that could be applied to the analysis and to the understanding of other web genres in the future.

Genres in the Internet is an edited collection of articles written by theorists and researchers belonging to discourse studies and to Computer-Mediated-Communication (CMC). The aim of the volume is “to begin a cross-disciplinary discussion of genre and its conceptualization not only as a discourse phenomenon but also as an object of disciplined inquiry” (p. 1).

The main theme running through the book is the need for a reformulation or adaptation of the concept of genre to the new media. All the authors present their own reflections, reinterpretation and expansion of genre theories in the light of the new affordances of the Internet and the new technologies.

The book is divided into 10 independent chapters , each presenting a view of the genre concept  in relation to a specific genre class. The chapters are linked together by an opening chapter, “Genres in the Internet: Innovation, evolution and genre theory“, written by Janet Giltrow and Dieter Stein (the editors of the book).


As a whole, Genres in the Internet is a valuable contribution to genre analysis and research. The presented conceptualizations give us a range of possible interpretation of existing genres in the Internet. Yet, Genres in the Internet is not a text book providing undisputable definitions or straightforward rules of how to identify web genres, or instructions  how to discriminate one web genre from another. In the book you will not find final answers to questions like “What is genre?”, and you will not find off-the-shelf definition that you can promptly reuse in other fields. What you will find in this book are stimulating investigations and challenging opinions.


Genres in the Internet is a recommended reading for researchers working with the concept of genre in the different fields of linguistics, discourse analysis, corpus linguistics, computational linguistics. It is a suggested reading for those who tackle genres from a more practical angle, such as  information studies, text classification and text mining, text analysis, information retrieval and extraction and knowledge management. The full review will be published here.

1 comment for “Book Review. Genres in the Internet (2009)

    13 December, 2011 at 17:03

    Two related references suggested by Ruth Wodak (see Critical Discourse Analysis-LinkedIn Group):

    — The Discourse of Blogs and Wikis by Greg Myers (
    — The Language of blogs (

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