Requests and counters in Russian traffic police officer-citizen encounters: face and identity implications

Marquez-Reiter, R; Ganchenko, K and Charalambidou, A (2016). Requests and counters in Russian traffic police officer-citizen encounters: face and identity implications. Pragmatics and Society, 7(4) pp. 512–539.

DOI: https://doi.org/10.1075/ps.7.4.01mar

Abstract

This paper analyses video recorded interactions between police officers and drivers in traffic stops in Russia. The interactions were recorded via cameras installed on the drivers’ car dashboards, and subsequently uploaded to YouTube; a practice to which over one million Russian motorists have resorted to counterbalance perceived high levels of bribery and corruption (Griaznova 2007). The analysis focuses on responses to opening requests for identification in five different encounters. These show that the drivers repeatedly engage in potentially interpersonally sensitive activities in which the vulnerability of face, especially that of the police officer, is interactionally manifested by launching counter requests in return. The organisation of the request - counter request sequences highlights how face and identity related concerns are interwoven in the participants’ attempts to contest each other’s authority.

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