Intertextuality as a politeness strategy : A qualitative study of the use and function of intertextuality in the television series Suits

University essay from Stockholms universitet/Engelska institutionen

Abstract: This paper investigates the use and function of intertextuality in the television series Suits, and examines the interplay between intertextuality and politeness. Intertextuality allows a text to incorporate other texts and to draw upon connotations that belong to those texts. Politeness theory offers a tool to analyse the pragmatic use of language in social interaction. Analysing occurrences of intertextuality from the first episode of the television series, the paper explores in what ways the fictional characters use intertextuality and for what purposes. It explores if, and how, intertextuality can be used as a politeness strategy. Findings suggest that intertextuality is used for three main purposes, and functions as characterisation and as a means to establish and/or maintain social relations. Detailed analyses of instances of intertextuality propose that intertextuality can be used as a politeness theory, but only in certain ways. The paper discusses these findings and offers a possible explanation for why intertextuality is only used in this restricted way.

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