Dániel Z. Kádár, Politeness, Impoliteness and Ritual: Maintaining the Moral Order in Interpersonal Interaction [Book Review]

Wang, Jiayi orcid iconORCID: 0000-0003-2720-8218 (2019) Dániel Z. Kádár, Politeness, Impoliteness and Ritual: Maintaining the Moral Order in Interpersonal Interaction [Book Review]. Internet Pragmatics, 2 (2). pp. 319-324. ISSN 2542-3851

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Official URL: https://doi.org/10.1075/ip.00034.wan


Dániel Z. Kádár has been the most vocal scholar of ritual in the field of pragmatics. His recently published monograph epitomises his ground-breaking exploration of the broad interface that exists between politeness, impoliteness and ritual. Its aim is to provide a research framework that captures the interface area. Specifically, it sets up the first (im)politeness-focused interactional model of ritual. Ritual is not a completely new concept for politeness researchers due to the fundamental impact of the works of renowned sociologist Erving Goffman (1955, 1967) on the theorising of politeness. Brown and Levinson (1978/1987) loosely adopted the notion of face from Goffman to build their seminal theory of politeness, which has been widely adopted and criticised, and recently there has been a call to return to the original Goffmanian notion of face (see Wang and Spencer-Oatey 2015 for a detailed discussion). Goffman used ritual to refer to all types of interpersonal interactions that involve face work. Within politeness research, it is Kádár and colleagues who, through a series of published studies (e.g. Kádár 2013; Kádár and de la Cruz 2016; Kádár and Ran 2015; Kádár and Robinson Davies 2016), have brought ritual to the fore of our attention. This volume defines it as a recurrent, emotively invested action that reinforces or transforms interpersonal relationships (p.12). Kádár’s definition is somewhat different from Goffman’s in that it aims to ‘capture the formal and functional interactional characteristics of ritual practices from the politeness researchers’ data-driven perspective’ (p.54). By focusing on the relational function of ritual action, Kádár approaches this phenomenon through an analysis of its role in maintaining a perceived communal moral order in interactions.

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