Plenary session 2

Srikant Sarangi
Danish Institute of Humanities and Medicine (DIHM)
Aalborg University, Denmark

‘Intuitive expertise’ and the professional order

In this presentation, I begin by outlining the different traditions of professional language/discourse studies over the past decades. I suggest that professional discourse – whether involving fellow professionals within/across institutions or clients with different forms of institutional literacy – is not limited to variable degrees of linguistic/communicative competencies. The lay-professional dichotomy is mainly untenable in the context of institutional/professional knowledge becoming widely and easily accessible in the digital era.  Against this backdrop, I turn to seminal work in the field of cognitive and behavioural sciences, which stresses that ‘intuitive expertise’ is central to professional thinking and decision-making. This may appear ‘counterintuitive’ vis-à-vis our appreciation of rational and evidence-based professional practice, which is visibly manifest at the discursive level.  This leads me to pose the following questions: how does intuition map on to language/genre/discourse to become analysable; and, by extension, what kind of ‘intuitive expertise’ do we as (applied) linguists and discourse analysts have to rely on to engage with intuition-driven language/genre/discourse surrounding the professional order in impactful ways? I will explore this conundrum with illustrative examples from the healthcare domain.