East Asian Pragmatics, Vol 1, No 1 (2016)

The Bases of (Im)politeness Evaluations: Culture, the moral order and the East-West divide

Helen Spencer-Oatey, Dániel Z. Kádár
Issued Date: 3 Dec 2015


Evaluation is an important aspect of (im)politeness and this paper explores it from an interdisciplinary perspective. It starts by considering the debate over the East-West divide in politeness theory and argues that both emic and etic approaches to research can contribute usefully to the deliberations. It then maintains that if we are to understand the impact of culture on people’s (im)politeness evaluations, we need to unpack the concept more thoroughly. It proposes that useful insights can be obtained from Haidt’s (e.g. Haidt and Kesebir, 2010) work on moral foundations and Schwartz’s (e.g. Schwartz et al., 2012) work on basic values. The paper ends by revisiting the East-West debate, discussing the potential impact of other factors such as beliefs and ideologies, and noting the ongoing uncertainties over levels and links between the various concepts explored. It urges pragmaticists and psychologists to engage more fully with each other to help address these challenges.

DOI: 10.1558/eap.v1i1.27762


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