Negotiating face in feedback conferences: a linguistic ethnographic analysis

F. Copland

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This article examines the negotiation of face in post observation feedback conferences on an initial teacher training programme. The conferences were held in groups with one trainer and up to four trainees and followed a set of generic norms. These norms include the right to offer advice and to criticise, speech acts which are often considered to be face threatening in more normal contexts. However, as the data analysis shows, participants also interact in ways that challenge the generic norms, some of which might be considered more conventionally face attacking. The article argues that face should be analysed at the level of interaction (Haugh and Bargiela-Chiappini, 2010) and that situated and contextual detail is relevant to its analysis. It suggests that linguistic ethnography, which 'marries' (Wetherell, 2007) linguistics and ethnography, provides a useful theoretical framework for doing so. To this end the study draws on real-life talk-in-interaction (from transcribed recordings), the participants' perspectives (from focus groups and interviews) and situated detail (from fieldnotes) to produce a contextualised and nuanced analysis.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)3832-3843
Number of pages12
JournalJournal of Pragmatics
Issue number15
Early online date29 Oct 2011
Publication statusPublished - 1 Dec 2011

Bibliographical note

NOTICE: this is the author’s version of a work that was accepted for publication in Journal of Pragmatics. Changes resulting from the publishing process, such as peer review, editing, corrections, structural formatting, and other quality control mechanisms may not be reflected in this document. Changes may have been made to this work since it was submitted for publication. A definitive version was subsequently published in Journal of Pragmatics, 43, 15 (2011) DOI:


  • face
  • feedback
  • negotiation
  • initial teacher training
  • linguistic ethnography


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