Verbal Sparring and Apologetic Points: Politeness in Gendered Argumentation Contexts

Informal Logic 30 (3):235-262 (2010)
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This essay argues that ideals of cooperation or adversariality in argumentation are not equally attainable for women. Women in argumentation contexts face oppressive limitations undermining argument success because their authority is undermined by gendered norms of politeness. Women endorsing or, alternatively, transgressing feminine norms of politeness typically defend their authority in argumentation contexts. And yet, defending authority renders it less legitimate. My argument focuses on women in philosophy but bears the implication that other masculine dis- course contexts present similar double binds that urge social and political change.

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