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Title: To whom are we polite : an examination of people’s politeness of disagreement messages amongst friends and strangers
Authors: Wong, Jody Chin Sing
Keywords: DRNTU::Social sciences::Communication::Audience research
DRNTU::Social sciences::Communication::Public opinion
Issue Date: 2018
Source: Wong, J. C. S. (2018). To whom are we polite : an examination of people’s politeness of disagreement messages amongst friends and strangers. Master's thesis, Nanyang Technological University, Singapore.
Abstract: This study examines people’s politeness of disagreement messages amongst friends and strangers in the offline and online environment, using the politeness framework of Brown and Levinson (1987). It aimed also to identify goal-states that people have when they disagree with a very specific and relevant audience. The use of hypothetical scenarios (Neubaum & Krämer, 2016) in a 3 x 2 web-based experiment design manipulates the six conditions. Results confirmed the prediction that in offline communication, people are less polite to their friends, as opposed to strangers, lending support to the politeness theory. Interlocutors care about preserving friendly relation with others (as in the case of strangers disagreeing face-to-face) and tend to mitigate/avoid face-threatening acts. With offline friends, people are driven by a task-oriented goal; with offline strangers, people are stirred by a relational-oriented goal. No reversal was found online, people were neither more polite to their friends nor were they less polite to strangers. However, the findings reveal that people experience social isolation in a mediated environment. The construct sought to differentiate the non-mediated and mediated channel characterized by their absence and presence but weakly affected people’s politeness of their disagreement messages to friends and strangers. This highlights that who people disagree with and the goal-state they have matters more than the communication channel itself. Results concerning context collapse were inconclusive, although the observations emphasize the issues unique to this phenomenon. Finally, the limitations of this study are addressed alongside implications and future research directions. Keywords: polite, friends, strangers, disagreement, online, offline, goal-states, context collapse
DOI: 10.32657/10220/46629
Schools: Wee Kim Wee School of Communication and Information 
Fulltext Permission: open
Fulltext Availability: With Fulltext
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