Politeness as a theoretical and empirical framework for studying relational communication in computer-mediated contexts

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Abstract

This conceptual chapter draws on the sociolinguistic theory of politeness, showing how politeness provides a robust theoretical and empirical framework that can be usefully applied to the study of relational ties in computer-medicated-communication. The chapter first reviews politeness theory, and shows how politeness is operationalized relative to a definable set of linguistic indices that are used throughout everyday discourse to communicate respect and esteem for others' face. The chapter then discusses how recognition of the central role of face-work in social interchange can enhance our understanding of why and where emotion-work might occur in CMC, how such emotion-work (in the form of politeness) can be reliably observed and quantitatively measured at a linguistic level of analysis, and how the distribution of politeness phenomena is systematically related to relational variables that are mainstays of CMC research - variables such as socioemotional versus task orientation, status, cohesion, impersonality, friendship, and communicative efficiency.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Title of host publicationHandbook of Research on Discourse Behavior and Digital Communication
Subtitle of host publicationLanguage Structures and Social Interaction
PublisherIGI Global
Pages776-794
Number of pages19
Volume1
ISBN (Print)9781615207732
DOIs
StatePublished - Dec 1 2010

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All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Social Sciences(all)

Cite this

Morand, D. A. (2010). Politeness as a theoretical and empirical framework for studying relational communication in computer-mediated contexts. In Handbook of Research on Discourse Behavior and Digital Communication: Language Structures and Social Interaction (Vol. 1, pp. 776-794). IGI Global. https://doi.org/10.4018/978-1-61520-773-2.ch050