Academic capitalization and public relations communication in higher education: a diachronic genre analysis of university annual reports in Hong Kong

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The academic capitalization in higher education has aroused much public
attention with its impact on every aspect of universities. To survive in the
market, universities in Hong Kong have been striving to build desirable
images among stakeholders in public communication. Drawing upon
critical genre theory and the notion of interdiscursivity, this study examines
the annual reports of six universities in Hong Kong from academic
year 1994/95 to 2015/16. Analysis shows that the genre of university
annual reports is a hybridity of management discourse, reporting discourse,
and public relation discourse. Such hybridity reflects the multifacet
nature of academic capitalization influenced by corporate values of
managerialism, public accountability, promotionalization, and stakeholder
orientation. The diachronic analysis indicates an increasing awareness
of branding and public relations in university public communication.
The study contributes to the previously overlooked research on university
public relations communication, as well as to the understanding of academic
capitalization and its development in Hong Kong.
Original languageEnglish
JournalAsia Pacific Journal of Education
Publication statusPublished - 2021


  • Academic capitalization; university annual reports; interdiscursivity; genre; Hong Kong

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