(Im)politeness in Service Encounters

Márquez Reiter, Rosina and Bou-Franch, Patricia (2017). (Im)politeness in Service Encounters. In: Culpeper, Jonathan; Haugh, Michael and Kádár, Dániel Z. eds. The Palgrave Handbook of Linguistic (Im)politeness. Palgrave Macmillan UK, pp. 661–687.

DOI: https://doi.org/10.1057/978-1-137-37508-7_25


This chapter examines sociopragmatic research on commercial service encounters. It offers a précis of the studies that have utilised service encounters as a vehicle to examine (Im)politeness manifestations. It addresses the methodological advantages of the service encounter as a relatively formalised interactional site in which sociability and efficiency are managed, hence as a locus for the emergence of (Im)politeness orientations. The chapter traces the evolution of (Im)politeness research and discusses the complexities of capturing (Im)politeness practices in transformation: from face-to-face and telephone-mediated encounters to newer communicative arenas resulting from technological advances such as online websites. In so doing, it discusses the analytic challenges involved in understanding (Im)politeness across a multiplicity of prior and current interactions with other parties alongside the exchange with service provider.

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