Self-denigration in academic discourse
The case of the Iranian doctoral defense
Using the methodology of Grounded Theory, this study aims to identify and analyze the perceptions and functions of self-denigration in dissertation defenses. The data comprises transcripts of two focus group discussions and the disputation sections of a corpus of 53 applied linguistics doctoral defense sessions gathered from 14 Iranian state universities between 2019 and 2021. The findings suggest that self-denigration depends to a great extent on the role of the participants in a disputation, and it is used before or after a criticism or a response to criticism. The analysis of the data revealed that self-denigration as a sign of respectfulness and modesty in a defense contributes to social decorum, diffidence, coercive self-deprecation, contrived modesty, or flamboyance. This study highlights the importance of self-denigration in the oral academic discourse of EFL defense sessions and has pedagogical implications for oral academic literacy practices.
- 2.Politeness & face at defenses
- 3.What is denigration?
- 4.1Data and participants
- 4.2Analytical procedures
- 5.Analysis of doctoral defense sessions
- 5.1Examiners’ talk-in-interaction
- 5.2Supervisors’ talk-in-interaction
- 5.3Doctoral candidates’ talk-in-interaction
- 6.Participants’ perceptions of self-denigration
- 6.1Social decorum
- 6.3Coercive self-deprecation
- 6.4Contrived modesty