Politeness as collective facework: the case of Swedish Jante Law

Scott, Susie (2016) Politeness as collective facework: the case of Swedish Jante Law. Studies in Symbolic Interaction. ISSN 0163-2396 (Accepted)

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Abstract

Politeness rituals can be understood as socially facilitative, performative speech acts that operate at the meso-level of Goffmanian interaction order, translating macro-level cultural scripts into micro-social action. Whereas previous research has focused on individual face-saving, this article examines the implications of politeness for the group face of speech communities, introducing the concept of collective facework. Taking Swedish culture as an example, I observe a tension between two sets of rules: the Nordic code of Jante Law, which frowns upon boasting and encourages humility, and the values of honesty and conversational directness. This is dramaturgically resolved through polite forms of talk, such as strategic reticence and sanctioning verbal domination. These interaction rituals perform collective facework to address negative and positive collective face needs.

Item Type: Article
Keywords: politeness, interaction, facework, Sweden, Jante Law
Schools and Departments: School of Law, Politics and Sociology > Sociology
Depositing User: Susie Scott
Date Deposited: 18 Aug 2016 08:56
Last Modified: 26 Mar 2017 21:00
URI: http://sro.sussex.ac.uk/id/eprint/62431

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