Disinvitations

A recent paper by Kathleen Bardovi-Harlig of Indiana University has examined the act of disinvitations in English.

Abstract: This paper examines the speech act of disinvitations, the act of rescinding an invitation or an anticipated invitation. Naturally occurring, authentic disinvitations are analyzed to determine the structure of disinvitations providing a second-order analysis; online discussion posts concerning disinvitations provide first-order accounts of attitudes toward disinvitations, outcomes, and the conditions under which they can be performed. An additional online survey supplements the unsolicited data providing additional examples, disinvitation reconstructions, and reactions to and interpretations of disinvitations. First-order discussions characterize disinvitations as highly undesirable, and advice postings admonish would-be disinviters to avoid the act. Nevertheless, the meeting of certain speech community norms allows disinvitations to be performed appropriately with sufficient relational work.

An example taken from the article (p. 95)

(2) Emailed professional disinvitation

Subject RE: Speaker inquiry

Hi, [Solidarity with problem] I’m embarrassed but I think I jumped the gun a bit. [Explanation] While I contacted you, another board member secured another speaker for that slot, [Disinvitation] so it is booked now. [Offer of Future Redress] I definitely want to keep you on the list for the next year, however. Sometimes we do mid-year speaker events as well. [Solidarity moves: Comembership] I’ve seen you present at [Conference] and read some of your papers, and your work is very interesting. I saw that you are also going to the [Topic] conference this month. I was hoping to go to that but can’t make it. [Apology] I’m so sorry the confusion. [Appeal for understanding] I hope you understand! [Signature]

Reference: Bardovi-Harlig, K. (2015). Disinvitations: You're not invited to my birthday partyJournal of Pragmatics75, 92-110.