Chapter published in:Emotion in Discourse
Edited by J. Lachlan Mackenzie and Laura Alba-Juez
[Pragmatics & Beyond New Series 302] 2019
► pp. 161–188
A cognitive pragmatics of the phatic Internet
Phatic interpretations are typically defined as those arising from an intention to create and maintain ties and social bonds, rather than an intention to transfer substantive information. As such, they are not typical instances of communication in which the eventual relevance centers upon the value of explicitly communicated content. Nowadays we are witnessing the so-called phatic Internet, in which the propositional content transferred to other users is increasingly irrelevant but the effects that this content generates (in terms of emotions and feelings of connection, sociability, group membership, friends’ acknowledgment and mutual awareness, etc.) are utterly relevant. This chapter will argue that it is mainly the feelings and emotions that are generated from phatic interactions (as well as phatic implicatures) that demand an extension of the scope of analysis and new terminology. Specifically, the term phatic effects will be proposed and applied to Internet-mediated communication. These effects are devoid of the qualities of intentionality and propositionality but are nevertheless essential to understanding why many users spend hours exchanging (apparently) irrelevant content with one another through the Net.
Keywords: emotions in phatic communication, phatic effects, Internet-mediated communication, relevance theory, contextual constraints, non-propositional effects
Published online: 27 March 2019
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