Publication details [#58322]

Moulinou, Iphigenia. 2014. Striving to make the difference: Linguistic devices of moral indignation. Journal of Language Aggression and Conflict 2 (1) : 74–98.
Publication type
Article in journal
Publication language
Place, Publisher
John Benjamins
Journal DOI


The present paper discusses issues of language aggression, conflict and identity, and of emotional communication and conflict. In particular, it explores different positionings of deviant identity as projected by a number of juvenile delinquents through the display of moral indignation (Ochs et al. 1989; Günthner 1995), at moments of crisis and conflictual relationships between them. Moral indignation is expressed through the co-occurrence of a number of linguistic and discursive devices, such as hypothetical examples and personal analogies (Günthner 1995; Kakavá 2002), prosodic features, implicit or explicit moral judgments (Günthner 1995), or non-literal threats. These devices are employed in interaction in order to construct opposing moral versions of identities. The paper argues for a tight interweaving between moral indignation, affect, identity indexing, and moral positioning. It further argues that displays of indignation are powerful interactional devices of conflict management and control of the moral and social order and of social relationships.