Summary

Presentation and Objectives
EDICE Programme (Studies on the Discourse of Politeness in Spanish) is an international project research network based in Sweden that focuses on linguistic, social and cultural aspects of Spanish and all its variants, centring particularly on politeness phenomena and related sociopragmatic notions (such as identity and face). EDICE Programme aims at distributing knowledge resulting from original research on the subject matter in and about Spanish; in other words, EDICE Programme strives at providing academic exchange and publishing opportunities to junior and senior experts on the Spanish language, its variants, and their different related sociocultural aspects that may be of scientific interest. In recent years, EDICE Programme has extended its venture to comparative and contrastive studies with other languages.

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EDICE Programme’s main objectives are:
1. To study the so-called polite behavior in Spanish language.
2. To account for the various socio-cultural contexts underlying this behavior.
3. To carry out contrastive analyses between Spanish and other European languages, as well as between different varieties of Spanish.
4. To study differences in polite behaviors in relation to more general and permanent social roles adopted by participants in interaction.
5. To study differences in polite behavior emerging from situational roles played by the participants and which depend on the kind of social activity they are engaged in.
6. To contribute to the development of theoretical models in the research area.

EDICE Programme also aims at:
1. Promoting the interaction between scholars from European and Spanish speaking countries.
2. Stimulating the study of Spanish as a Foreign Language from a socio-cultural perspective.
3. Stimulating an interest to study European languages in Spanish speaking countries from a sociocultural perspective.
4. Improving the possibilities of research and teaching conditions in those universities participating in EDICE’s Exchange Programme.
5. Promoting cultural understanding and precluding discriminatory behaviors.

Theoretical background
EDICE Programme studies (im)polite discourse as a result of socio-cultural contexts in which such discourse is produced. Some theories of politeness theories have linked polite behavior to the concept of face (Goffman, 1967; Brown and Levinson, 1987). According to these theories, the social image that an individual projects of himself (“face”) constitutes a psycho-social reality which must be confirmed in conversation in order for the individual to maintain a balance for his/her relations with others. This theoretical assumption, claimed to be universal, has given rise to a classification of polite behavior based on the specific way face is conceived in the Anglo-American cultural sphere. The difficulties of applying this concept, and the resulting classification of politeness strategies to non-Anglo-Saxon cultures, have led to doubts regarding the universality of Brown and Levinson’s “universal” model of politeness (see Bravo, 1996, 1998, 1999a and b; Duranti, 1992; Hernández Florez, 1999; Matsumoto 1988; Mao 1994; Nwoye 1992 and Placencia, 1996).

In response to this, the EDICE Programme aims at finding alternative ways that may lead to a redefinition of the notion of social image and to an identification of the socio-cultural contexts that can be perceived as underlying polite behavior in different Spanish-speaking groups. The application of politeness theory to the analysis of spoken discourse has shown that politeness is a pervasive feature in all kinds of spontaneous discourse. However, politeness is not restricted to the socalled politeness formulae. On the contrary, it embodies all behavioral manifestations that contribute to the building up of a social relationship between interactants. Indeed, it is difficult to conceive an interaccional event in which this perspective would not be taken into account. Due to the close link with the concept of face, politeness studies are of relevance for the area of social psychology in which professional communication is involved (Scollon and Scollon, 1995; see also Pragmatics, vol. 9:1 for the relationships between ideology, face and polite behavior). Analysing the concepts of face and politeness is also useful in research on role identity (Bravo, 1996), and it can be applied to the design of foreign language syllabus from a socio-cultural perspective. These studies also provide a solid ground for the comparison of social behavior in different cultures (Bravo, 1998. and Placencia, 1992).

 

THE STINT FELLOWSHIPS PROGRAM
Exchange programme for bilateral cooperation between Sweden, England, Argentina and Spain for (im) politeness studies.
EDICE Programme received in 2001 the THE STINT FELLOWSHIPS PROGRAM (STINT – The Swedish Foundation for International Cooperation in Research and Higher Education) for a bilateral cooperation between Sweden, England, Argentina and Spain in order to achieve its goals. This Exchange Programme allowed senior researchers, post-doctoral students and Ph.D. students from these countries to carry out research in partner institutions. As a result of this Exchange Programme, (im)politeness studies were encouraged among scholars and post-graduate students. Their findings were applied to teaching activities and communicated to undergraduate and postgraduate students.

More specifically, The senior researchers have:
1. Carried out joint activities leading to the realization of new scientific works as well as to the completion of projects initiated within the field of study during the second year of activities.
2. Participated in scientific and pedagogic events organised at the Department of Spanish, Portuguese and Latin American Studies.
3. Provided counselling, supervision, and research activities organisation to Swedish and exchange PhD students.
4. Given seminars and participated in joint courses.
5. Participated in the organization of the colloquium which took place in Stockholm on September 2002 and in Costa Rica on March 2004.
6. Participated in joint publications.
7. Discussed theoretical and methodological issues together at different academic meetings.

The postdoctoral student and the PhD students have:
1. Participated in scientific and pedagogic events organised at the Stockholm University Department of Spanish, Portuguese and Latin American Studies.
2. Attended seminars and courses given by senior researchers.
3. Participated in joint classes to graduate students.
4. Studied central theoretical issues in greater depth and examined methodological procedures.
5. Prepared and published research papers.
6. Produced scientific works in accordance with the aims and the theoretical standpoint of the project.
7. Participated in the organization of the symposium which took place in Stockholm on September 2002 and in Costa Rica on March 2004.

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