LINGUIST List 27.2764

Tue Jun 28 2016

Confs: Discourse Analysis, Pragmatics/UK

Editor for this issue: Ashley Parker <>

Date: 28-Jun-2016
From: Kristy Beers Fägersten <>
Subject: The New Normal: Impoliteness in Digital Communication
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The New Normal: Impoliteness in Digital Communication

Date: 16-Jul-2017 - 21-Jul-2017
Location: Belfast, Northern Ireland, United Kingdom
Contact: Kristy Beers Fägersten
Contact Email: < click here to access email >

Linguistic Field(s): Discourse Analysis; Pragmatics

Meeting Description:

Full title: The new normal: Aggression and impoliteness in new media and digital communication

In his 1996 study, Culpeper argues that, “in some contexts - specifically that of army training and literary drama - impoliteness behaviour is not a marginal activity, and that we need an appropriate descriptive framework in order to account for it.” This panel proposes to explore new media as a context in which impoliteness behaviour is in fact not a marginal activity, but rather seems ever increasingly to constitute a communicative standard, the “new normal.” The panel’s point of departure is ‘net rage’, which at one time was unusual enough to be identified as a phenomenon, but has now become commonplace. The panel strives to explore new media as sites of aggression and impoliteness behavior, further building upon the “online disinhibition effect” (Suler 2004), including toxic and benign disinhibition, which is central to online aggression research (e.g., Binns 2012, Herring et al. 2002, Jane 2004, Demjen & Hardaker 2016, Hardaker & Lambert Graham 2016).

The panel welcomes researchers working with new media data (such as social media sites Twitter, Facebook, YouTube, Reddit, 4chan, etc.), other forms of digital communication, including Internet news media sites, and even commentary produced as a by-product of social media and Internet news media. The goal of the panel is to explore questions such as whether ‘new’ norms can be identified and linked to online context, digital data type, and/or communicative goal; to what extent aggression and impoliteness (hostility, ridicule, sarcasm, etc.) constitute the new normal for digital communication; and to what extent swearwords and insults are standard indexes of aggression and impoliteness. The research included in the panel would ideally establish the descriptive framework Culpeper has called for with regards to new media, in an effort to determine whether linguistic evidence of aggression and impoliteness behaviour can be understood to be effecting a recalibration of what constitutes “normal” or standard language usage.

Binns, A. 2012. DON'T FEED THE TROLLS!, Journalism Practice, 6:4, 547-562.
Culpeper, J. 1996. Towards an anatomy of impoliteness. Journal of Pragmatics, 25(3), 349-367.
Herring, S., Job-Sluder, K., Scheckler, R., & Barab, S. 2002. Searching for safety online: Managing “trolling” in a feminist forum. The Information Society: An International Journal, 18(5), 371-384.
Jane, E. 2004. Your a Ugly, Whorish, Slut. Feminist Media Studies, 531-546.
Suler, J. 2004. The online disinhibition effect. Cyber Psychology and Behaviour, 7(3), 321-326.
Demjen, Z., & Hardaker, C., 2016. Metaphor, impoliteness, and offence in online communication. In E. Semino & Z. Demjen (eds.), Handbook of metaphor and language. London: Routledge.
Hardaker, C., & Lambert Graham, S. 2016. Impoliteness and computer-mediated communication. In J. Culpeper, M. Haugh & D. Kádár (eds.), Handbook of linguistic (im)politeness. London: Palgrave Macmillan.

Page Updated: 28-Jun-2016