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Power and (Im)Politeness in Traditional Chinese Criminal Investigations

Kádár, Daniel Z. and Sun, Hao (2007) Power and (Im)Politeness in Traditional Chinese Criminal Investigations. In: 10th International Pragmatics Conference, 8 - 13 July 2007, Goteborg, Sweden.

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    Abstract

    Due to recent developments in critical discourse analysis (CDA) and forensic linguistics (FL), the theories regarding
    utilisation of language in police interviews and courtroom interactions have been refined, cf. Cotterill (2003), Gibbons
    (2003), and Thornborrow (2002). Researchers argue that even in the considerably authoritative police questioning
    process and courtroom settings, language is a means that not only serves the maintenance but also the redistribution
    (Bourdieu 1991) of power, i.e., possible resistance against authority. It is a generally accepted view that (im)politeness
    is one of the most important tools in struggles for power in courtroom trials, cf. Lakoff (1989), or Kurzon (2001).
    The aim of this study is to apply CDA and FL theories to the linguistics examination of traditional Chinese criminal
    investigation(s) (TCCI), i.e., the process of interrogating suspects in imperial China in the period spanning the period
    238 Panels & panel contributions
    from the Ming dynasty (13681644) through the Qing dynasty (16441911).[1] In the course of analysing TCCI,
    particular attention is devoted to the study of traditional Chinese (im)polite formulae and their role in criminal
    investigations. TCCI and its institutional (im)politeness are of relevance to both CDA and FL, since their examination
    can show how language and (im)politeness are utilized in attaining discourse goals in historical Chinese legal settings,
    which differ enormously from the well-studied modern Western ones. Besides, TCCI is a hitherto regrettably
    understudied topic. Notwithstanding the pivotal place occupied by traditional Chinese law amongst the legal traditions
    of the world (Katz ed. 1986), traditional Chinese courtroom language has not been studied in any detail by historical
    pragmaticians or forensic linguists. Furthermore, while traditional Chinese law has an extensive sinological literature,
    such works only touch upon, if discuss at all, its language.

    Item Type: Conference or Workshop Item (Paper)
    Subjects: G Geography. Anthropology. Recreation > GT Manners and customs
    P Language and Literature > P Philology. Linguistics
    Schools: School of Music, Humanities and Media
    Related URLs:
    Depositing User: Sara Taylor
    Date Deposited: 22 Mar 2012 13:55
    Last Modified: 22 Mar 2012 13:55
    URI: http://eprints.hud.ac.uk/id/eprint/13149

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