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Conflictual interactions in computer-mediated communication: a case study in a Tunisian Arabic context

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posted on 2023-08-30, 20:33 authored by Khouloud Boukhris
Video games pervade day to day life in a way which allows near constant interaction and communication, and these online gaming platforms have led to an emphasis in studying conflictual interactions in computer-mediated communication. Few studies have investigated the different perceptions that participants form during conflictual interactions. Further studies are thus needed to clarify why and how the hearer allocates a particular impolite utterance throughout the interaction. This research intends to examine the development of conflictual interactions, how they might be resolved and the socio-cultural norms involved, by adopting an analytical framework in an online gaming context. The current research adopts a qualitative approach to collect data. 134 participants were recorded and took part in the study, and they were recruited through snowball sampling. After transcribing and translating the data, a pragmatic discourse analytical approach as well as a thematic discourse analysis were adopted to analyse the micro features of the data. To establish the consistency and authenticity of the research findings, inter-rater reliability was measured. This thesis’ aim is to further examine how impoliteness, language aggression and conflict are realised in two online gaming platforms, namely Fortnite and PUBG Mobile, I will explore discursively how these phenomena are subjective in a Tunisian Arabic setting and discuss how participants reach their subjective perception of conflict in ways that do not always correspond to the supposed intentions of the ostensible offender. The unique, spontaneous and personally collected dataset being investigated, which involves recorded multi-party interactions between Tunisian Arabic speaking gamers, will provide a wealth of insight into a virtual community where, due to embedded tensions, conflict, impoliteness and language aggression appear to be perceived in different ways. The results indicate that conflict is subjective as it is evaluated in different ways by different gamers and could be an evaluation of what the hearer perceives from the speaker’s intention. The findings also reveal that negatively perceived intentions may not only trigger reactions that lead to conflict escalation and/or justifiable aggression, but also they may trigger reactions that lead to conflict avoidance. Conflict and impoliteness strategies may also be created/ escalated as a result of a non-conflictual intention. Furthermore, the findings reveal that impoliteness strategies fail when no offence is taken. Thus, this thesis contributes to understanding of conflict, how impoliteness can lead to conflict and the various aspects of impoliteness/the perception of impoliteness.



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