“Maybe she just hasn’t matured yet” : politeness, gate-keeping and the maintenance of status quo in a community of practice

CLARK, Jodie (2013). “Maybe she just hasn’t matured yet” : politeness, gate-keeping and the maintenance of status quo in a community of practice. Journal of Politeness Research, 9 (2), 211-237.

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Link to published version:: https://doi.org/10.1515/pr-2013-0010


Politeness research has much to offer work that explores the complexities of gate-keeping in a community of practice. In this article I draw upon principles and terminology from politeness research to explore the tension that arises when members of a particular community of practice (a university field hockey team) who are morally opposed to homosexuality are confronted with the fact that some of their teammates are openly gay. This line of investigation relies upon a redefinition of politeness2: I define politeness2 as the moral compulsion to respect the boundaries around different levels of social structure, which include (but are not limited to) sets of attitudes, perspectives and priorities. In the hockey players’ community of practice, two moral priorities are in conflict: an aversion to homosexuality on the one hand, and a desire for a friendly, socially inclusive club on the other. I investigate the various evaluative resources participants draw upon/produce in this community, which include evaluation schemes based upon the labels “rude” and “im/mature”. I claim that the label “im/mature” – and concepts related to this label – function in this community as a means of concealing the conflict between the two moral priorities and maintaining a commitment to both.

Item Type: Article
Research Institute, Centre or Group - Does NOT include content added after October 2018: Humanities Research Centre
Identification Number: https://doi.org/10.1515/pr-2013-0010
Page Range: 211-237
Depositing User: Lorna Greaves
Date Deposited: 27 Sep 2012 15:18
Last Modified: 18 Mar 2021 23:45
URI: https://shura.shu.ac.uk/id/eprint/6295

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