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Inequity in the pursuit of intimacy: an analysis of British pick-up artist interactions

Hambling-Jones, Oliver and Merrison, Andrew ORCID: https://orcid.org/0000-0002-8020-3240 (2012) Inequity in the pursuit of intimacy: an analysis of British pick-up artist interactions. Journal of pragmatics, 44 (9). pp. 1115-1127.

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The data presented here come from a collection of surreptitious audio recordings of naturally occurring talk-in-interaction between previously unacquainted women and male ‘Pick-Up Artists’ (PUAs) in the UK. Our approach draws on close observations of these interactional data to demonstrate how PUAs move from a state of unacquaintedness towards more ‘intimate’ forms of interactional involvement.A prototypical PUA is a male who seeks to be successful at ‘seducing’ women. ‘PUA’ is not a category label given to the individual, but is one that he claims for himself within an existing PUA Community of Practice. A common community belief is that the means of seduction are not rooted in physical attractiveness, social status or wealth, but in the interaction. The claimed ‘art’ in pick-up artistry may be seen in the relative speed with which the protagonist may gain intimacy with their fellow interlocutor. The PUA operates, as Goffman (1967b) describes it, “where the action is”; they are every bit the gambler in a high-stakes game where risky plays – which include issues of im/politeness and in/equity – can have high payoffs. The focus of this paper is how PUAs actually play the game.

Item Type: Article
Status: Published
DOI: https://doi.org/10.1016/j.pragma.2012.04.008
Subjects: P Language and Literature > P Philology. Linguistics
School/Department: School of Education, Language and Psychology
URI: https://ray.yorksj.ac.uk/id/eprint/521

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