Motivations behind face-work by native Japanese speakers in conflict situations between self and other

Sachiko KIYAMA, Katsuo TAMAOKA, and Masato TAKIURA

Goffman (1967) suggests that every individual has face, defining it as 'positive social value', which, in negotiation, faces of self and other is called face-work. On the basis of Brown and Levinson's (1987) framework in which politeness strategies are purportedly selected by distance (D), power (P), and ranking of imposition (R), this study investigated how native Japanese speakers manage face-work within conflict situations between self- and other-position. The 'decision tree' analysis was used to identify hierarchical structures of factors influencing self-responses according to other's contradictory attitudes toward self. Results showed that 'R' was crucial for predicting self-responses in association with the other factors, suggesting that face-work by self and other plays a mediation role between consideration of situations and that of their interpersonal relationships.