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Face and Politeness

  • By: Kristin Kirschbaum
  • In: Encyclopedia of Health Communication
  • Edited by: Teresa L. Thompson
  • Subject:Public Health Education & Health Promotion, Health Psychology, Health Communication

Face refers to the personal image each individual projects in public. Politeness refers to communication strategies that support or negate face. The concept of face in communication research was introduced by Erving Goffman in 1967. Since that time, face has been studied with both quantitative and qualitative research methods and in numerous areas of communication research, including health communication. Communication strategies associated with politeness are also integral to health communication research. Although multiple theories examine issues connected with face and politeness, two theoretical frames specifically examine face and politeness.

Face-negotiation theory was first proposed by Stella Ting-Toomey in 1985. Face-negotiation research was traditionally conducted with multinational groups to examine how face is negotiated during conflict in intercultural communication research. More recently, face negotiation has also been ...

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