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The ninth international Im/Politeness conference, under the aegis of the Linguistic Politeness Research Group (LPRG) and the National and Kapodistrian University of Athens is to be held in Athens, from 1st to 3rd July 2015. The special theme of this three-day conference is Im/Politeness and Globalisation.

The theme of the conference

Research on im/politeness has witnessed an immense expansion over the last decades (e.g. Lakoff 1973; Brown & Levinson 1978/1987; Leech 1983; Eelen 2001; Watts 2003; Mills 2003; Culpeper & Kádár 2010; Kádár & Haugh 2013; Leech 2014), although issues of im/politeness have been of concern to people for centuries. On the other hand, globalisation is a term that has gained increasing momentum relatively recently. The concept is complex and multi-faceted but broadly speaking it is assumed that it will lead to homogenisation of every aspect of people’s lives (e.g. Held et al. 2003; Coupland 2003, 2010; Fairclough 2006). Discourse practices fall at the heart of globalisation not least because it entails mobility for various reasons and increasing numbers of various kinds of interactions both traditional and novel, especially given the development of technologically mediated means of communication. In this context, language itself is seen a commodity (Heller 2003) which sells well if it is wrapped up with politeness (a hallmark of this being the service sector). A powerful kind of politeness, which despite its sounding alien to many, is spreading, thus appears to be leading to the homogenisation of discourse practices (e.g. Cameron 2000, 2003). Yet this view is in sharp contrast with a basic tenet of much of the recent research on im/politeness, namely that even within one culture there is considerable variation as to what is perceived as polite or impolite (e.g. Kádár & Mills 2011; Culpeper 2011, 2012). However, since globalisation is a process which implies change, this change actually entails both homogenisation and diversification “but in relation to each other. Globalization often produces hybridity and multiplicity” (Coupland 2010: 5). Interestingly, globalisation has also been associated with an increase in impoliteness and aggression, especially in the media (e.g. Tannen 1993; Garcés-Conejos Blitvich 2009) rather than seeing a growth in politeness.

Given the intricate and multifaceted relationship between globalisation and politeness, our theoretical and empirical investigations of issues of im/politeness may need adjustments and refinements to account for the challenges posed by globalisation.

The aim of the conference is to bring together scholars who are interested in exploring the many interconnections between im/politeness and globalization, in areas such as the following:

  • academic settings
  • intercultural encounters
  • language change
  • language teaching / learning
  • media discourse
  • political discourse
  • second language acquisition
  • second / foreign language teaching / learning
  • service encounters
  • the workplace
  • translation
  • travel and tourism

However, in keeping with the tradition of im/politeness conferences we would welcome individual submissions and panel proposals that deal with any area related to im/politeness. 

Call for individual and panel abstracts

Abstracts for regular papers should be approximately 300 words (excluding references) and should be sent by e-mail as an attachment to politeness-2015[at]enl.uoa[dot]gr by January 15, 2015. Please include the title of your presentation and your name, affiliation and e-mail address in the body of your e-mail. Your attachment should bear only the title and the abstract of your presentation and up to five keywords. All abstracts will be evaluated by an international scientific committee and authors will be notified of their decision through e-mail by early March 2015. Participants may be the first author of only one presentation and the second author of another one.

Prospective panel organizers should submit a brief outline of approximately 250 words (excluding references) of the theme of the panel by 30 November 2014. They are free to invite their own participants or send out a call for papers and decide on the abstracts that they deem suitable for their panel in terms of content and quality. They should aim at 3 or 6 presentations (1 or 2 90 mins slots). All abstracts should be approximately 300 words (excluding references) and should be sent by the organizer as e-mail attachment to politeness-2015[at]enl.uoa[dot]gr by January 15, 2015 as with regular papers.

 Please disseminate this information to any colleagues you think might be interested.