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Culture-generality and culture-specificity of face

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Abstract

In theorizing face as relational and interactional, Arundale (2010) argues that face encompasses a dialectic of relational connection and separation, which is culture-general, but can be voiced differently in different cultures. This paper examines how Arundale’s Face Constituting Theory (FCT) relates to the culture-specific emic understanding of face in Persian culture in talk in dissertation defense sessions. The data are two argumentative excerpts of natural interaction from a corpus of 12 PhD defense sessions in Iran. It is first argued that relational connection and separation is voiced as bonding and differentiation. Second, it is shown how the Persian emic concept of aberu can be accommodated in FCT. The analyses, grounded in CA and FCT, show how the dialectic of bonding and differentiation is interactionally achieved in the practices of aberu.
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Keywords: Persian; aberu; dissertation defense; face constituting theory; relational connection and separation

Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: July 31, 2017

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