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Identity in Communicative Contexts

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Kamila Ciepiela

The central focus of the book is the identification of the ways people engage in communicative encounters to (re)constitute personal and social identities. Its aim is to identify some principal themes that have emerged from the ample research on identity in a variety of contexts. A common thread of the articles is the role of language in the construction and performance of identities. It embraces an exploration of the sociocultural environments in which human communication takes place, the interplay between these environments, and the construction and display of identities through our communicative performances. Research located in a range of literary, sociological, psychological and linguistic perspectives is used to illustrate the potential of communication in establishing a sense of identity.

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Eric Berne’s Games People Play, the phatic and rhetoric modes of speech, and the “two to one dialogue” situation in Harold Pinter’s Birthday Party

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Abstract The article discusses Harold Pinter’s Birthday Party in respect of the phatic and rhetoric modes of speech which can be perceived in the context of Eric Berne’s Games People Play. In this drama, just as in other plays written by this Nobel laureate, the characters play different kinds of language games, the basic ones employing the phatic mode, containing a series of irrelevant questions and seeking to establish contact between the characters, and the rhetorical, dividing mode, where one of the partners evidently aims at establishing his domination over the other. In this context the paper also discusses the “two to one” dialogue situation, which, according to Herta Schmid, is a characteristic feature of the theatre of the absurd. The aim of the paper is to specify to what extent the use of one or the other mode reflects the mutual relationships of the characters, tensions, and threats, which are quite often, but not always, hidden under the seemingly polite and even friendly conversations.

The word “pinteresque” has acquired the status of an often used and accepted critical term describing the specific quality of Harold Pinter’s output. As early as 1968 Ronald Hayman wrote that the introduction of this descriptive term “must mean that [Pinter’s] style is the most distinctive, or at least, the most easily recognizable.” (Hayman 1968:1) The word appears as an entry in various encyclopaedias and dictionaries, and so, for instance, Brewer’s Theatre defines it in the following way: ”Pinteresque: Resembling...

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