Publication details [#17185]

Abdel-Raheem, Ahmed. 2021. Multimodal metaphor and (im)politeness in political cartoons: A sociocognitive approach. Journal of Pragmatics 185 : 54–72.
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The tradition in (im)politeness research so far has been to focus on oral corpora and sometimes on written texts, paying scant attention to multimodal texts such as political cartoons. Can political cartoons be taken as flagging the potential for impoliteness? Can (im)politeness notions be usefully extended to the genre of political cartooning, a genre that is particularly rich in multimodal metaphors? If the answer is yes, what types of impoliteness are there? Do political cartoons have features of both bivalent and trivalent politeness? Using a corpus of Egyptian cartoons and taking a sociocognitive perspective into consideration, this article, for the first time, discusses whether multimodal texts can be fruitful both for politeness and impoliteness studies and focuses on specific cartoon acts and their face-attacking or face-enhancing potential. In doing so, it also examines the kinds of multimodal impoliteness that constitute racially or religiously aggravated hate crime, with a special focus on racist, anti-Muslim discourse in the West. The results of this study show that a more general theory of political cartooning should go beyond the apparently simplistic notion of ‘critical cartoonist’ and deal with complex evaluative phenomena and attitudes, often also having a polarized structure (Us vs. Them).