Disentangling face, facework and im/politeness
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It is generally assumed in pragmatics that face is essentially a "socially attributed aspect of self", and that politeness is one kind of facework, alongside other forms of facework such as impoliteness, mock impoliteness, mock politeness, self politeness and so on. In this paper, the assumed necessary link between face and im/politeness is questioned. Drawing from emic studies of face and im/politeness, it is argued that face and im/politeness should be studied, in the first instance, as distinct objects of study in their own right. It is also suggested that drawing from a wider range of emic conceptualisations of face and im/politeness opens up aspects of interpersonal phenomena that have been relatively neglected in pragmatics to date, namely, the importance of relationships as well as the sets of expectancies that underpin evaluations of im/politeness, as distinct areas for theorisation and analysis. It is concluded that while the Goffmanian face(work) paradigm has proven very productive in pragmatics, drawing from various other emic understandings affords further hitherto relatively under-explored analytical opportunities in the study of interpersonal phenomena.
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Discourse and Pragmatics