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Politeness in Swahili 2.0: new ways of indirect communication in the community, in social media and in tourism

Researcher: Janna Perbix
Supervisor: PD Dr. Angelika Mietzner

The project will be a continuation of the diverse politeness research in African languages and will focus on the aspect of communication and discussion of certain aspects of politeness in Swahili in social media, with an additional focus on social relations in tourism. The project is situated in the research field between politeness, tourism, and social media communication research.

The goal of this work will be to highlight structures and strategies in tourism and social media communication, but also to draw attention to existing social problems especially within tourism in southern countries. Tourism is not only an economic activity that reflects socioeconomic relations, but it also organizes them. Moreover, tourism is realized through social and cultural practices and plays a role in establishing ideologies of difference and relations of inequality, making tourism research particularly relevant.

The field research for this thesis takes place on Kenya's south coast in tourist and non-tourist locations as well as in the digital field in Facebook travel groups.

In order to expand the current state of research, I would like to ask the questions: What happens, against the backdrop of face-saving practices and differing perceptions of politeness, when people from different backgrounds encounter each other on Kenya's beach? What happens when strategies circulating on social media are played out on real ground? And what happens when strategies transfer to digital space?

In doing so, I assume that different understandings of politeness explain how social relations and their establishment are to be understood, and how different actors* adapt and transfer appropriate behaviors that make living in a super-diverse environment possible.