The aim of this paper is to conduct a contextually and culturally sensitive investigation of how impoliteness works in Peninsular Spanish discourse. This is achieved by adopting a genre-approach to im-politeness (Garcés-Conejos Blitvich, International Review of Pragmatics 2: 46–94, 2010), which argues that genre notions, as understood by Fairclough, Analysing discourse: Textual analysis for social research, Routledge, (2003), can anchor top-down (im-politeness2) and bottom-up (impoliteness1) analyses. The genre approach also accommodates institutional, polylogal, mediated forms of interaction, which are rarely accounted for in extant impoliteness models. The context in which use and interpretation of impoliteness is examined is a talk show on Spanish public television, La Noria (Tele Cinco), which is not only very popular with audiences, but also widely known for its adversarial style. For the analysis, a methodologically sophisticated experimental design is implemented. This design integrates (i) a terminological corpus-based analysis; (ii) a multimodal questionnaire (n = 100); and focus groups (n = 2). Results confirm that the seemingly default term descortesía (‘impoliteness’) may not be the most appropriate to refer to the phenomena under scrutiny. The multimodal questionnaire and the discourse analysis of the focus groups' interaction reveal highly variable and far from homogenous assessments of particular panelists' behaviors. Results further reveal that ideology and emotions play an important role in assessments of im-politeness, as does the co-constructed identity of participants. In contrast, intention appears not to be invoked as the basis of those assessments.
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