In recent years, many politeness researchers have moved away from pragmatic theory and towards social theory while adopting a postmodern approach to the study of politeness. Interestingly, it seems that the longer politeness is studied the more ambiguous and less transparent this term becomes and the more difficult
it appears to capture culture-specific features of politeness. While pragmatic theories view politeness as a set of strategies used to redress face and culture as a factor influencing strategy choice, postmodern theories emphasise the unpredictable nature of politeness and the heterogeneous nature of culture. Both pragmatic and social politeness theories have been developed by Western researchers, and thus influenced by the Western, notably Anglo-Saxon understanding of politeness. Brown and Levinson?s theory has been most influential
in the field of cross-cultural pragmatics, and it has been as widely criticised as it has been applied. While many Non-Western researchers point to a cultural bias in their framework, much of the criticism directed at their framework in recent years has come from postmodern politeness theorists. However, the alternative view on politeness they offer does not provide a framework for a cross-cultural comparison.