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Journal of Politeness Research

Language, Behaviour, Culture

Ed. by Grainger, Karen

2 Issues per year

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CiteScore 2017: 1.65

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Afterword: Theorizing (im)politeness

Michael Haugh
Published Online: 2018-02-06 | DOI: https://doi.org/10.1515/pr-2017-0058


The shift to a middle ground between classic and discursive approaches to politeness has opened up space for the proliferation of various different theoretical accounts of (im)politeness. While this diversity can lead to different insights into the same dataset, as we have seen in this special issue, it does beg the question of whether the field of (im)politeness research remains a coherent enterprise. After pointing out that different theories of (im)politeness inevitably not only afford but also constrain what we observe and the explanations that can be developed to account for those observations, I suggest that in light of the increasing proliferation of theoretical approaches in the field, a greater focus on metatheorization is in order. After briefly discussing some of the key questions such a metatheoretical discussion should address, I conclude that metatheorizing enables us to systematically examine what different theories of (im)politeness bring to the field, thereby also drawing attention to what areas appear to be in particular need of further theoretical development and empirical study.

Keywords: Politeness; impoliteness; theory; metatheory; metalanguage

About the article

Published Online: 2018-02-06

Published in Print: 2018-02-23

Citation Information: Journal of Politeness Research, Volume 14, Issue 1, Pages 153–165, ISSN (Online) 1613-4877, ISSN (Print) 1612-5681, DOI: https://doi.org/10.1515/pr-2017-0058.

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