|Sumario:||This thesis develops arguments relevant to scientific writing, the understanding of genres in scientific writing, and the construction of scientific fields. It is concerned with how review articles construct the fields of study which they describe. Using constructivist and relativist perspectives from the sociology of scientific knowledge, the research is based on a textual or discourse analysis, emphasizing the contingency of collective phenomena, such as scientific fields. In the first part, the co-formation of the genres of research and review writing is addressed; the focus is on how review writing has been portrayed by historians and rhetorical analysts, bibliographers and information analysts, compilers of guidelines on scientific writing and by scientists, editors, and reviewers.
Other central questions include who is expected or authorized to write reviews, as well as to what extent reviews are considered to be a discrete genre in the production of scientific knowledge; it is argued that in practical circumstances (i.e., when classifying research articles and reviews, producing guidelines on reviewing, or awarding scientific reviewing) the straightforward differentiation of two distinct forms of writing becomes blurry. In the second part, the construction of the field of Darwin Studies is examined, through the analysis of various reviews proclaiming the constitution of the field and aiming to put it in order.
This ordering is produced through the establishing of boundaries with other fields; mapping it in a comprehensive manner, that is, providing criteria of inclusion and exclusion; building a biography for the field, thus identifying its origins and development through time; and through defining the “state of the art”, which includes introducing its central figures, research problems, and ongoing controversies. The production of each construction of the field as an inter-subjective definition of a given entity, and not as a prejudiced or idiosyncratic representation, requires the careful management of the identity, authority, and credibility of the reviewer. The successful negotiation of a relatively stable constitution of a field is produced through inter-textual reiteration and reinterpretation.|