This paper argues that identity theory can be a useful analytical tool for the scholar of relational work (Locher and Watts, Journal of Politeness Research 1: 9–13, 2005). By focusing on current news interviews broadcast in the USA, it shows how impoliteness is inextricably linked to the (co)construction of the identity of the hosts, the guests and the audience of an emergent “new” news genre; news as confrontation (Garcés-Conejos Blitvich, The “new” news in America: emergence of a genre, 2007, International Review of Pragmatics, forthcoming). Impoliteness is defined as a negative identity practice (Bucholtz, Language in Society, 28: 203–223, 1999) used by the hosts to position themselves within their own community of practice. Applying Anton and Peterson's (Communication Studies, 54: 103–419, 2003) model of subject positions, an alternative definition is proposed that posits that impoliteness – and confrontation – may ensue when there is a mismatch between self asserted subject positions, i. e., the positions we temporarily choose to assume, and other asserted subject positions, i. e., the positions that others impose on us. By challenging our self asserted subject positions, the view of the world that comes along with them is questioned as well. Impoliteness is also used to forge the collective identity of one of the factions, here identified with the target audience of shows included in the study, currently waging the “Culture Wars”. This metaphor has long been used to claim that political conflict within the USA is due to a conflict between “traditional” and “progressive” values.
Andrew Cohen's contribution to the field of interlanguage pragmatics has been significant and fruitful. My aim here is not so much to evaluate his work critically as it is to point out weaknesses in the field of interlanguage pragmatics that are also present in his production. In view of the theoretical developments in the field of pragmatics, it would seem essential that interlanguage pragmaticians should review some of the theoretical foundations on which the field squarely rests.
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.
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).