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Journal of Politeness Research

Language, Behaviour, Culture

Ed. by Grainger, Karen

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CiteScore 2017: 1.65

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Identity and impoliteness: The expert in the talent show Idol

Pilar Garcés-Conejos Blitvich / Patricia Bou-Franch / Nuria Lorenzo-Dus
  • Department of English Language and Literature, College of Arts and Humanities, Director, Language Research Centre, http://www.swansea.ac.uk/riah/ researchgroups/lrc/, Swansea University, Swansea SA2 8PP
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Published Online: 2013-01-18 | DOI: https://doi.org/10.1515/pr-2013-0005


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).

Keywords: Identity; impoliteness; talent show; genre; expert; reality television

About the article

Published Online: 2013-01-18

Published in Print: 2013-01-17

Citation Information: Journal of Politeness Research, Volume 9, Issue 1, Pages 97–121, ISSN (Online) 1613-4877, ISSN (Print) 1612-5681, DOI: https://doi.org/10.1515/pr-2013-0005.

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