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Face, Communication and Social Interaction

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It is an enduring theme of humanity that people are concerned about what others think of them. The notion of face has thus become firmly established as a means of explaining various social phenomena in a range of fields within the social sciences, including anthropology, pragmatics, sociolinguistics, and psychology. Yet face has also become increasingly entrenched in the literature as a kind of pre-existing sociocultural construct. This book offers an alternative in focusing on the ways in which face is both constituted inand constitutive of social interaction, and its relationship to self, identity and broader sociocultural expectations.

There are three main themes explored in this volume. Part I, ‘Face in interaction’, encompasses contributions that deal with face as it emerges in interaction in various institutional and non-institutional settings. In Part II, the relationship between self, identity and face is investigated in the context of interpersonal communication. The final part considers various approaches to establishing links between individual interactions (the so-called micro) and broader sociocultural expectations or 'norms' that interactants bring into interactions (the so-called macro).

Published: May 1, 2009

Book Contributors

Section Chapter Authors
Foreword Yoshiko Matsumoto
1. Face and interaction Michael Haugh
Part I: Face in interaction
2. Face as emergent in interpersonal communication: an alternative to Goffman Robert Arundale
3. How to get rid of a telemarketing agent? Facework strategies in an intercultural service call Rosina Márquez-Reiter
4. Analysing Japanese ‘face-in-interaction’: insights from intercultural business meetings Michael Haugh, Yasuhisa Watanabe
5. “ That’s a myth”: Linguistic avoidance as a political face-saving strategy in broadcast interviews Erick Anchimbe
6. Two sides of the same coin: how the notion of ‘face’ is encoded in Persian communication Sofia Koutlaki
Part II: Face, identity and self
7. Face, identity and interactional goals Helen Spencer-Oatey
8. Evoking face in self and other presentation in Turkish Ṣükriye Ruhi
9. Face and self in Chinese communication Ge Gao
10. Face, politeness and interpersonal variables: implications for language production and comprehension Thomas Holtgraves
11. In the face of the other: between Goffman and Levinas Alexander Kozin
Part III: Face, norms and society
12. Facework collision in intercultural communication Stella Ting-Toomey
13. Face in the holistic and relativistic society Tae-Seop Lim
14. Finding face between gemeinschaft and gesellschaft: Greek perceptions of the in-group Marina Terkourafi
15. Significance of ‘face’ and politeness in social interaction as revealed through Thai ‘face’ idioms Margaret Ukosakul
16. Facing the future: some reflections Francesca Bargiela-Chiappini
Contributors Michael Haugh, Francesca Bargiela-Chiappini
Transcription conventions
Transcription conventions Francesca Bargiela-Chiappini, Michael Haugh
Index Francesca Bargiela-Chiappini, Michael Haugh

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'Bargiela-Chiappini and Haugh do the field a valuable service by putting together a diverse collection of papers that, while built upon these foundational authors, represent current trends and developments in research on face in social interaction.'
Journal of Sociolinguistics
, 2013

'The collection is inspirational and innovative in several senses.'
Language in Society 41, 2012

'...the book is a trendsetting publication on the study of politeness and face.'
Jun Ohashi, Asia Institute, The University of Melbourne, Australian Review of Applied Linguistics, issue 34, 2 (2011)

'A number of features worthy of note in this volume are as follows. First, it is of methodological significance. Second, the most salient feature of the volume is its endeavor in new perspectives or new orientations to face and facework. Third, the volume manifests different discourse systems by putting emphasis on the culture-specifity of face. Fourth, it is dynamic in that it keeps abreast of the developments in the field and challenges the traditional through influential theories of face by Goffman and Brown and Levinson by advocating social constructionism, ethnomethodology and communication studies of face. Finally, this volume's multi-disciplinary characteristics are remarkable. ...the volume as an important original intellectual inquiry is a big step forward in studies of face(work) and will surely inspire further advances in this field.'
Zhao Ming, China University of Mining & Technology, Discourse and Communication 5 (3), 2011

'This is a well-conceptualized edited volume that consists of insightful theoretical and empirical contributions on face, facework, and politeness approached from various interdisciplinary perspectives and methodological frameworks. The rigorous analysis of face and broad scope of this volume will make it an essential tool for researchers, teachers, and students of pragmatics and discourse analysis, sociolinguistics, sociology, and intercultural communication.'
César Félix-Brasdefer, Associate Professor, Research Fellow, Institute for Advanced Study, Indiana University

'A fascinating collection of research that contests not only the construct of “face”, but also the nature of human interaction. With excellent theoretical discussion and empirical studies, this volume offers insightful analysis and is original in terms of conception and methodology: a great resource for using the notion of “face” to study social interaction, cross-cultural and intercultural communication.'
Yuling Pan, U.S. Census Bureau

'The volume adopts interdisciplinary approaches to the understanding of the notion of face at three interdependent levels - the individual, interactional and socio-cultural, and thus establishes links between individual interactions (the micro) and broader socio-cultural expectations (the macro). As a result, it provides us with a wealth of studies on 'face', showing that the insights yielded from multi-dimensions cannot be captured by any single theoretical perspective.'
Jing Chen, Zhejiang University, Discourse Studies 2010 12(5)

'This excellent volume, as its title exemplifies, represents a small but growing trend in which the study of face and facework is making a bid for genuine independence.

The book contains 16 contributions, 14 from an impressively multicultural collection of scholars bracketed by one each from the two editors. These vary in quality, in a range from good to extremely good. This overall high standard is one reason why this is such a valuable volume and, I predict, will become close to indispensable for scholars of interpersonal communication. Another is the above-discussed topical shift in focus towards face which it represents. A third is the exciting variety of methodologies, approaches and datasets which are to be found within it.'

Jim O'Driscoll, University of Huddersfield, Journal of Politeness Research 7 (2011)

'Overall, the book has lived up to its expectations and is highly recommended. … there seems to be a potential for ‘face studies’ to emerge as a separate specialisation and this book may well be one of the trendsetters in this direction.'
Journal of Intercultural Studies, 33 (4), 2012