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  • Author: Patricia Bou-Franch x
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Abstract

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.

Abstract

Premised on the belief that both identity construction and im/politeness assessments relate to norms associated with genre practices, the aim of this paper is to examine the interconnections between identity co-construction and impoliteness in a media genre: the talent show. This aim is innovative in so far as im/politeness has traditionally been related to the notion of face, rather than identity. Our study draws upon a corpus of 160 interactional sequences from the UK and US versions of the talent show Idol. All sequences in the data include music expert Simon Cowell, who has been singled out as playing the role of the malicious judge by both journalists and scholars. However, to our knowledge, no previous study has undertaken a micro-analysis of the linguistic resources deployed by Simon Cowell to construct his expert identity or has examined the role that impoliteness may play therein. This is what we set out to do in this paper. To that end, our analytic framework combines socio-constructivist approaches to identity construction (Anton and Peterson 2003; Joseph 2004; Bucholtz and Hall 2005; De Fina et al. 2006) with a recently revised, discursive approach to im/politeness, i.e., the genre approach (Garcés- Conejos Blitvich 2010, this issue).