Je ne suis pas Charlie. Metadiscourses of impoliteness following “France’s 9/11” in selected print media

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Abstract

Almost immediately after the Charlie Hebdo shootings of 7 January 2015, some print media made room for alternative opinions of what had happened. The articles and the discussions they inspired are replete with evaluations which lend themselves to analysis using methods and procedures of Politeness Theory. The paper examines an example of a metadiscourse of (im)politeness which questions the “moral orders” underlying the cartoonists’ as well as other participants’ social practices vis-à-vis their ideological foundations, esp. freedom of speech as one of the principal liberties of our society. To that end, the approach to politeness as “social practice” is employed which, while insisting on multiple understandings of politeness, places participants’ evaluations at the centre of politeness research.

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