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Article
Toward a Performative Understanding of Politeness
International Journal of Communication
  • C. Kyle Rudick, University of Northern Iowa
  • Danielle E. McGeough, University of Northern Iowa
Document Type
Article
Publication Version
Published Version
Keywords
  • politeness theory,
  • performativity,
  • critical studies,
  • face,
  • facework
Disciplines
Abstract

In this article, we argue that critical communication scholars have largely overlooked the study of politeness as a constitutive component of identity, culture, and power. We offer a critical-performative framework for critical scholars interested in studying politeness as a political, discursive, and embodied act. To develop this agenda, we first outline Brown and Levinson’s postpositivist theory of politeness. We then review three challenges to their use of intentionality, Grice’s cooperative principle, and Goffman’s concept of face. These challenges are located in interactional, traditional critical, and discursive understandings of politeness (respectively). Next, we show how a performative understanding of politeness both encompasses the three challenges and offers a way to understand the role of politeness in identity formation. We conclude by suggesting that ethnographic methods, informed by performance ethnography, provide analytical tools consistent with a performative understanding of politeness.

Department
Department of Communication Studies
Comments

First published in The International Journal of Communication v13. (2019), by University of Southern California.

Original Publication Date
1-1-2019
Repository
UNI ScholarWorks, Rod Library, University of Northern Iowa
Copyright
©2019 C. Kyle Rudick and Danielle E. McGeough
Creative Commons License
Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 4.0
Date Digital
2019
Language
en
File Format
application/pdf
Citation Information
Process now publisher’s version in IR. Creative Commons License 4.0 with non-commerical and no deriviatives. From publisher’s website 9/9/2019 en: Copyright © 2019 (Jiawei Sophia Fu). Licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution Non-commercial No Derivatives (by-nc-nd). Available at http://ijoc.org.