Chapter published in:(Im)politeness and Moral Order in Online Interactions
Edited by Chaoqun Xie
[Benjamins Current Topics 107] 2020
► pp. 11–35
The personal and/as the political
Small stories and impoliteness in online discussions of the Greek crisis
Drawing on our previous work on the role of small stories in social-mediatized engagements with the Greek socio-economic crisis (Georgakopoulou 2014, 2015), in this article, we set out to shed light on impoliteness on social media through the lens of small stories research. We explore how Facebook and YouTube commenters “bash” political leaders and perceived political opponents and attribute blame to them for the crisis, through comments that attest to specific links of doing impoliteness with storying the crisis. Bashing has been previously related to the affective reactions of participants in online comments on current affairs. In this case, we bring to the fore a salient combination in our data of (mainly on-record) impoliteness strategies for bashing politicians with specific narrating positions in stories about the crisis: the narrator as sufferer, as witness of suffering, and as spokesperson for collective suffering. We argue that in all these cases, on-record impoliteness is normally placed at the end of a small story and presented as legitimated and justified by the preceding account. We conclude with the implications of the association of impoliteness targeting public figures with social-mediatized processes of personalizing and constructing expertise on the basis of experience on the one hand and, on the other hand, of jointly (re)asserting moral order in political affairs.
Keywords: narrating positions, bashing, online comments, Greek crisis, small stories, on-record impoliteness
Published online: 04 June 2020
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