Volume 10, Issue 1
  • ISSN 2213-1272
  • E-ISSN: 2213-1280
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Research on impoliteness has underlined the need for multidisciplinary approaches to impoliteness (Sifianou 2019a). In this article, I adopt the concept of “safe space”, as discussed in works on feminist digital media (Clark-Parsons 2018Rentschler 2014), to explore how impoliteness relates to identity construction and the negotiation of power dynamics in the context of a Greek feminist website, constructed as a safe space. Both the concept of “safe space” and discursive and relational approaches to impoliteness (Angouri and Locher 2012Graham 2007Locher and Watts 20052008) relate to norms of appropriate behaviour in particular contexts and relational issues, such as power and identity.

The data for this article comprise comments posted in discussions taking place in the Greek website of , in which participants became involved in disagreements. Culpeper’s (2010) framework for conventionalised impoliteness formulae is the starting point of the analysis, which takes a discourse analytical approach to investigate the intersection of identity and power in the site. Results show that criticisms and challenging questions are linked to the identification of participants with particular feminist positions, and to the negotiation of the power distribution between the administrator and themselves. Furthermore, the paradoxical nature of safe spaces plays an important role in these processes, as the use of impoliteness points to the negotiation of the norms for interaction among participants and reveals the struggle between individual expression and maintenance of safety.


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