On the importance of being rough. (Im)politeness in the public sphere

Università di Palermo, Palermo

15-16 Giugno 2023


The symposium “On the importance of being rough. (Im)politeness in the public sphere” is an international conference with an interdisciplinary vocation. It will take place at the University of Palermo from June 15th to 16th.

The symposium wants to bring forth joint contributions from the fields of pragmatics, rhetoric and semiotics while dealing with the growing interest in language studies for the concept of impoliteness.

Moving from the recent debate on impoliteness (Culpeper & Terkourafi 2017; Mazzone 2018; Terkourafi 2019; Domaneschi 2020; Piazza 2019; Di Piazza & Spena 2022), as well as concrete examples of a strategic use of impoliteness in political communication, the symposium proposes to broaden the view on (im)politeness by two complementary moves: firstly, by considering politeness and impoliteness as poles of a strategic field of discursive practices, emphasizing respectively continuity or discontinuity of discursive frames; secondly, by extending the domain of exercise of these strategies, and in particular of impoliteness oriented ones, from conversational frames to the public sphere (Landowski 1983; Fabbri 2009; Alonso Aldama 2018). Thus redefined, (im)politeness appears inextricably linked to power (Culpeper 2008; Bianchi & Caponetto 2020). By doing so, the event invites a reflection upon empirical cases of (im)politeness as a verbal practice (Piazza 2019a, Cepollaro 2020), an enunciative strategy (Kerbrat-Orecchioni 2010) and a system of values (Pessoa de Barros 2017): departing from a strictly linguistic and conversational approach, we aim to study (im)politeness in the public sphere from a transdisciplinary perspective, bringing together pragmatics, rhetorics and semiotics.


Scientific Committee: Adriano Bertollini (UniPa), Marco Carapezza (UniPa), Enzo D’Armenio (FNRS-ULiège), Emmanuelle Danblon (ULB), Salvatore Di Piazza (UniPa), Lucie Donckier de Donceel (UniPa, ULB), Maria Giulia Dondero (FNRS-ULiège), Stefania Garello (UniPa), Marco Giacomazzi (UniBo), Francesco La Mantia (UniPa), Anna Maria Lorusso (UniBo) Gianfranco Marrone (UniPa), Marco Mazzone (UniCt), Claudio Paolucci (UniBo), Francesca Piazza (UniPa), Carlo Andrea Tassinari (UniPa, UNimes).