12-13 November 2015

full name / name of organization: 
University of Lyon (France)

International Conference
University of Lyon 3 – November 12-13 2015

Call for Papers
The discursive practice of irony and banter

In memory of Geoffrey Leech

Irony has traditionally been regarded as conveying a figurative meaning where a more literal meaning could be substituted: in the rhetorical tradition, being ironical is expressing something while meaning the exact opposite. Banter seems to have the same oppositional quality: bantering is being insulting while positing a bond with the addressee. It this sense, it is very close to "sounding", a word-game whose purpose is to display linguistic creativity.
From a pragmatic perspective, in both irony and banter, Grice's maxim of quality is flouted. Building on the Cooperative Principle, Geoffrey Leech (1983, 2014) analyses both irony and banter within his (im)politeness framework: banter is clearly "mock impoliteness" as the offense is fake. Conversely, irony is "mock politeness" as it appears to be polite on the surface but rude and offensive "underneath". Although these pragmatic definitions are particularly insightful they may not tell the whole story.
What seems just as essential in the study of the discursive practice of irony and banter is to determine the subject placements of each participant in the discourse. Is the target the addressee or is discourse made for the enjoyment of the addressee at the expense of a third party for instance? Given the position occupied by the different participants, irony/banter will differ in their intended or unintended effects: indeed this position in the discursive configuration seems decisive to understand when and why both practices sometimes misfire. Depending on how self (speaker) and other (receptor) view their own selves and their relationship with the other(s) in what types of contexts, the interpretation of banter and irony can succeed or fail.

This conference aims to explore the linguistic and cognitive properties and the pragmatic functions of banter and irony. Proposals for papers may either be oriented towards theory or may offer case studies from a wide array of sources (literature, political discourse, forums, chats, newspapers, ads, magazines, TV series, and so on). Particular attention is given in the conference to the following research questions:
- What are the communicative techniques of irony and banter?
- Can irony and banter be coupled, where one draws on the techniques of the other?
- What are the feelings, impressions, emotions and affects conveyed through banter and irony?
- What prosodic and paralinguistic features signal irony or banter? Do they reinforce the pragmatic context or can they bypass it?
- What are the reasons for failure in the uptake of banter or irony? And how far is it "appropriate" to go in the bantering/ironic process?
- How, where and why does mock impoliteness slide into genuine impoliteness or sarcasm?
- How do banter and irony position the addressee in a "humour community"?

Deadline for submission: March 31 2015
Notification of acceptance: May 31 2015
Proposals of around 300 words to be sent to both Manuel Jobert (manuel.jobert@wanadoo.fr) and Sandrine Sorlin (sandrine.sorlin@univ-amu.fr)
Language of the conference: English
Selected papers will be considered for publication.