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Responding to Criticism as Realized in a Press Conference: The Case of Iranian Celebrities
Reza Samandar and Yaser Hadidi
A glimpse at the stock of pragmatics literature brings to light a serious lack of studies delving into the speech act of responding to criticism. Hence, with the view of broadening the scope of research, this study set out to probe into the strategies Iranian celebrities employ to respond to the criticisms leveled at them in a press conference. Using a qualitative method supplemented with quantitative analysis of the data, the present study selected Iran’s largest annual film festival, Fajr International Film Festival, as the data collection source. 40 press conferences held within this festival were watched and the celebrities’ responses were translated and transcribed. Drawing on a model proposed by El-Dakhs (2020), the responses were categorized into four broad categories of total acceptance, partial acceptance, total resistance, and digression. The result of the analyses revealed that the celebrities most frequently preferred total resistance strategies to unreservedly and straightforwardly wave away the criticisms they had received irrespective of the threat their responses may have posed to the face of the critics. The findings were interpreted in light of the celebrities’ disinclination to adhere to Iran’s conventional cultural norms regarding saving other people’s face and the asymmetrical power relations that might have sanctioned the use of explicit and confrontational strategies.
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