Face and (im)politeness are widely discussed and debated in the pragmatics literature. This special issue, which has developed out of a symposium presented at the 7th International Pragmatics Conference at Riva del Garda, Italy in 2005, aims to enrich our understanding of these concepts by examining them from the perspective of identity. The first three papers consider the conceptual insights that different (sub-)disciplines can offer for our understanding of face, (im)politeness and the management of rapport. They draw on work in social psychology on identity, and take a cognitive pragmatic perspective to deconstruct relevant emic concepts/lexemes. The next four papers present discourse-based research on the topic. They examine different types of identities, including role identities (e.g. leaders and mentors), national identities (e.g. Turkish and British), ethnic identities (e.g. Pakeha and Maori), community identities (e.g. Cyber-parish member), as well as individual identities, and analyse how these identities impact upon the (mis)management of face and rapport.