LINGUIST List 31.2691

Mon Aug 31 2020

Calls: Pragmatics/Switzerland

Editor for this issue: Lauren Perkins <>

Date: 31-Aug-2020
From: Tuija Virtanen <>
Subject: Navigating verbal hypocrisy in face-to-face and mediated contexts: Towards a pragmatic model
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Full Title: Navigating verbal hypocrisy in face-to-face and mediated contexts: Towards a pragmatic model
Short Title: Verbal Hypocrisy

Date: 27-Jun-2021 - 02-Jul-2021
Location: Winterthur, Switzerland
Contact Person: Tuija Virtanen
Meeting Email: < click here to access email >

Linguistic Field(s): Pragmatics

Call Deadline: 25-Oct-2020

Meeting Description:

Hypocrisy is widely conceptualised in negative terms as a mismatch between people’s insincere claims and their actual deeds which is not intended to be detected. The notion has rarely been theorized across disciplines: if its ubiquity has been noticed in philosophical political thought (Runciman 2008), sociology has shown a “lack of systematic attention to the origins, patterns, and implications of hypocrisy” (Wieting 2015: 2). Linguists of various orientations have paid little, if any, theoretical attention to this notion. Rather, it is used, in passing, in its everyday sense. Still, hypocrisy is arguably a pragmatic phenomenon. Despite good candidates for conceptual affinity such as (im)politeness and (in/post)civility, irony and sarcasm, as well as faking, lying, and deception at large, hypocrisy appears in everyday use of language as a multifaceted conceptualisation in its own right. The goal of this panel is to investigate the phenomenon across contexts in order to devise a pragmatic model of verbal hypocrisy, including prosody.

Call for Papers:

We invite micro-pragmatic or macro-pragmatic contributions on verbal hypocrisy, including prosody. Studies may address questions such as: why and when is hypocrisy used and what linguistic resources are employed? How can hypocrisy be detected, and what can the responses be like? How do language users construct shared understandings of hypocrisy, for the purposes of tact or mutual gain? Of interest would also be studies raising metapragmatic issues concerning communication that language users manifestly interpret as hypocritical. Other questions might address assumptions of tacit pragmatic norms that may turn visible when hypocrisy is detected. Conversely, (some extent of) hypocrisy seems to be a sine qua non of public discourse: for Machiavelli, political aims cannot be met honestly, so condemning hypocrisy amounts to condemning politics altogether (see Grant 1997). But even beyond politics, Feinberg (2002: 59) shows that “Life without dissimulation is impossible in what we call civilized society. The question is not whether everyone is a hypocrite. Everyone is. The only variant is the degree of hypocrisy practiced by every person.” Would these “different degrees” of hypocrisy constitute a hazard to pragmatic theory as regards the ideal of trust and cooperation in communication? How is hypocrisy related to adjacent theoretical concepts such as politeness, humour and deception? In what ways does it contribute to power and manipulation? Or are we now in a post-hypocrisy era in our post-truth times?

The panel (in English) is open to studies of different languages and the navigations of hypocrisy under study may involve processes of translanguaging. Panelists are encouraged to make their chosen theoretical framework explicit for the benefit of a wide audience. Taken together, the analyses are expected to have a bearing on pragmatics, (i) disclosing fuzzy boundaries inherent in adjacent concepts such as deception, irony, and politeness, (ii) advancing the study of verbal hypocrisy as a phenomenon per se, and (iii) suggesting avenues towards a comprehensive pragmatic model.

Format of panel: papers and discussion

Abstracts of 250-500 words including references should be submitted via IPrA’s submission system before 25 October 2020. For further instructions, see

Grant, R. W. (1997). Hypocrisy and Integrity: Machiavelli, Rousseau and the Ethics of Politics. The University of Chicago Press.
Feinberg, Leonard (2002). Hypocrisy: Don’t Leave Home Without It. Pilgrims’ Process.
Runciman, David (2008). Political Hypocrisy: The Mask of Power from Hobbes to Orwell and Beyond. Princeton University Press.
Wieting, Stephen G. (2015). The Sociology of Hypocrisy: An Analysis of Sport and Religion. Ashgate.

Keywords: hypocrisy, tact, (im)politeness, civility, dissimulation, deception, faking, norms

Page Updated: 31-Aug-2020