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Impoliteness in the "casse-toi pauv’ con" incident: a discursive case-study

Abstract : In February 2008, when visiting the Paris Agricultural Show, French President Nicolas Sarkozy insulted a visitor who refused to shake hands with him. The exchange was filmed and his insult, "Casse-toi, alors, pauv’con" ("Then get lost, you poor jerk!"), was soon all over the Internet and worldwide media. However, few researchers have tried providing an in-deep analysis of the whole interaction. In a 2010 article, Catherine Kerbrat-Orecchioni offers a study of the reply itself and how it constitutes a prototypical example of ‘positive impoliteness’. However, as much as the content and form of the reply matter, a comprehensive analysis of the realisation of impoliteness can’t focus on the utterance alone. Instead, as recent post-Brown and Levinson models of impoliteness (Bousfield 2008, Culpeper 2011) have shown, it is necessary to contextualize it within the sequence in which it was uttered and in its larger context. The following study will provide such an analysis of the whole incident using those models. Beyond the single utterance of President Sarkozy, it will take into account the dynamics of his interaction with the visitor and replace it both in its narrow co-text and wider context (background information about the interactants, norms, conventions…).
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Contributor : Célia Schneebeli <>
Submitted on : Monday, June 17, 2019 - 12:20:27 PM
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Célia Schneebeli. Impoliteness in the "casse-toi pauv’ con" incident: a discursive case-study. Anna Baczkowska. Impoliteness in Media Discourse, 9, Peter Lang, 2016, Interfaces, 9783653035117. ⟨10.3726/978-3-653-03511-7⟩. ⟨halshs-01413243⟩



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