Call centre interaction: A case of sanctioned face attack?

Archer, Dawn Elizabeth and Jagodzinski, Piotr Szymon (2015) Call centre interaction: A case of sanctioned face attack? Journal of Pragmatics, 76 . pp. 46-66. ISSN 0378-2166

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In this paper, we investigate a sub-corpus of call centre interactions building on and extending the work of Jagodziński (2013) and Archer (2008, 2011a,b). Our aim is to show (i) how the institution's tacit acceptance of impoliteness and verbal aggression, on the part of callers, can lead to a form of institutional sanctioning, (ii) how the sting of impoliteness/verbal aggression is neutralised for some agents, in the course of conflictive customer service interactions – but not all, and (iii) possible reasons for this (non)-neutralisation. Our goal is to provide real-life evidence of: how impoliteness and/or verbal aggression are performed in the call centre, the extent to which they are mutually related, and how they link with the notion of instrumentality. In this way we present our own understanding of concepts which, although they have been used in im/politeness research for some time, are still relatively under-researched in real-world contexts such as the call centre.

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