Russian Political Interviews
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Abstract Significant research has been carried out on the structure of political interviews (Clayman 1988, 1992; Elliott and Bull, 1996; Bull and Elliott, 1998; Bull 2003) and on the face threats and the equivocation strategies used by politicians in response to face threats (Bull, 2003). However, the majority of these studies do not address multicultural contexts or interviews on the international level where competing norms may come into contact and additional threats to face may surface. Russian President Medvedev’s interviews from his first year in office provide the opportunity to isolate a politician’s individual communicative style based on responses to face threats, equivocation strategies, and the use of pragmatic particles. Response strategies are isolated and analyzed for their effectiveness and the degree to which they coincide with response strategies from a generalized Western context (Bull, 2003) and an oppositional minority position (Simon-Vandenbergen, 2008). Evidence is provided in this study for the necessity of expanding Bull’s analytical frameworks to address the definition of questions (Sivenkova, 2008) and generic variations within different cultural contexts or in a cross-cultural environment for international political interviews. The possibility of pragmalinguistic failure as a contributing feature to misalignment as well as a Russian-specific use of pragmatic particles is discussed in conjunction with a summary of Medvedev’s individual communicative style.
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