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Journal of Politeness Research

Language, Behaviour, Culture

Ed. by Grainger, Karen

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Politeness, Humor and Gender in the Workplace: Negotiating Norms and Identifying Contestation

Janet Holmes / Stephanie Schnurr
Published Online: 2005-07-27 | DOI: https://doi.org/10.1515/jplr.2005.1.1.121


After first considering some of the challenges of defining and measuring the concept of politeness, the analysis draws on data from the Wellington Language in the Workplace Project to illustrate the value of complementary quantitative and qualitative approaches to the issue of what it means to be polite at work. Using the concept of relational practice, an analysis of workplace humor serves to illustrate what each approach offers in terms of distinguishing different communities of practice, as well as providing a means of exploring the issue of politeness as a gendered concept. Instances of how two women leaders use humor in their very different communities of practice exemplify the diversity of ways of responding to gendered interactional workplace norms.

Keywords: relational practice; humor; gender; workplace discourse analysis; methodology

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Published Online: 2005-07-27

Published in Print: 2005-01-01

Citation Information: Journal of Politeness Research. Language, Behaviour, Culture, ISSN (Online) 1613-4877, ISSN (Print) 1612-5681, DOI: https://doi.org/10.1515/jplr.2005.1.1.121.

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