Arab World English Journal (AWEJ) Volume 10. Number 3 September 2019                                   Pp. 401-412

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The Interplay between Social Contexts of Power and Aggravation Strategies: Identity-
specific Perspectives in Fictional Discourse

 V.Vinod Kumar
Professor and Head, Department of English
Bharathidasan University
Tiruchirappalli, India

 Vijay Singh Thakur
Associate Professor, Department of Languages and Translation
Dhofar University
Salalah, Sultanate of Oman

Justin James
Lecturer and E-learning Coordinator
Nizwa College of Technology
Ministry of Manpower
Nizwa, Sultanate of Oman



This paper attempts a pragmatic analysis of the interplay between social contexts of power and sociolinguistic device of aggravation strategies concerning dialogic discourses in Vikram Seth’s novel A Suitable Boy (ASB) (1993). The paper attempts to validate that aggravation strategies have been an integral part of human discourse. It demonstrates how people use aggravation strategies to exercise power over others in different communicative contexts.  It also exemplifies how power is vested in specific identities, and their role relationships in different power structures existing in the society based on their caste, age, sex, social standing, political or official identity, and how the power is exerted in the context of their social identities. The paper defines various aspects of aggravation, explains the dominant participatory identities, namely master   identities, situated identities, and discourse identities and analyses how these social identities exercise power through aggravation strategies in the dialogic discourses in ASB.
Keywords:  aggravation strategies, discourse identities, impoliteness, master identities, situated identities, social contexts of power

Cite as:    Kumar, V. V., Thakur,V.S., &   James, J. (2019). The Interplay between Social Contexts of Power and Aggravation Strategies: Identity-specific Perspectives in Fictional Discourse. Arab World English Journal, 10 (3), 401-412. DOI:


Dr. V. Vinod Kumar is a Professor of English, and presently he is the Head of the Department of
English, Bharthidasan University, Tiruchirappalli, India. He holds a doctorate in English Language
Teaching. He has edited two books and published 27 articles in various journals and books. He has
presented 40 research papers in various conferences and seminars.