Jump to ContentJump to Main Navigation
Show Summary Details
More options …

Journal of Politeness Research

Language, Behaviour, Culture

Ed. by Grainger, Karen

2 Issues per year


IMPACT FACTOR 2016: 0.522
5-year IMPACT FACTOR: 0.824

CiteScore 2016: 1.00

SCImago Journal Rank (SJR) 2016: 0.562
Source Normalized Impact per Paper (SNIP) 2016: 1.229

Online
ISSN
1613-4877
See all formats and pricing
More options …

Paedophiles and politeness in email communications: Community of practice needs that define face-threat

June Luchjenbroers / Michelle Aldridge-Waddon
Published Online: 2011-01-28 | DOI: https://doi.org/10.1515/jplr.2011.002

Abstract

This paper offers an investigation into the general message structure and politeness strategies used in email communications between (now convicted) paedophiles in discussions of highly illegal practices and intent. In these emails, the interactants reveal telling characteristics of their ‘community of practice’. Consistent with the view from cognitive anthropology (Wenger, Communities of practice: Learning, meaning, and identity, Cambridge University Press, 1998, IVEY Business Journal, 2004) and sociolinguistic research (Eckert, Linguistic variation as social practice, Blackwell, 2000; Newell-Jones, Whose reality counts? Interprofessional learning through the eyes of Participatory Rural Appraisal, Academy of Higher Education, LTSN. Academy of Higher Education, Health Sciences and Practice, 2005), the members of this speech community signal their ‘in group’ membership and values through a number of linguistic strategies, such as lexical and topic choices. Through these choices, members can not only quickly detect non-members, but can focus on those factors that are central to their community (in this case, avoiding features of talk, such as banter, sarcasm or humour, that are risky in new, internet relationships but would mark more solid relationships). The body of email data used for this research is a corpus taken from a recent paedophile case in the UK. Despite the relatively small dataset, many emails are captured in discourse ‘strings’ (i. e., multiple messages between users, embedded within single emails) and thus capture the consecutive to-and-fro of discourse between these discussants. As such we have clear evidence of the progress between contributions and it is clear how quickly members of this speech community discuss sensitive information, and how quickly they seek to ‘meet up’, despite knowing very little about each other. These data are also packed with descriptive information about the wants, deeds and desires of the email senders, making this a particularly rich corpus. We argue that facework and politeness ought to be considered in the light of the overall target social objectives, rather than how we, or members of other social groups, might perceive such discourse contributions.

Keywords:: Community of Practice; conceptual frames; forensic linguistics; paedophile; email communication

About the article

Published Online: 2011-01-28

Published in Print: 2011-02-01


Citation Information: Journal of Politeness Research. Language, Behaviour, Culture, Volume 7, Issue 1, Pages 21–42, ISSN (Online) 1613-4877, ISSN (Print) 1612-5681, DOI: https://doi.org/10.1515/jplr.2011.002.

Export Citation

Citing Articles

Here you can find all Crossref-listed publications in which this article is cited. If you would like to receive automatic email messages as soon as this article is cited in other publications, simply activate the “Citation Alert” on the top of this page.

[1]
Miriam A. Locher, Brook Bolander, and Nicole Höhn
Pragmatics, 2015, Volume 25, Number 1, Page 1

Comments (0)

Please log in or register to comment.
Log in