M. A., Edinburgh University, 1972-1976, first class honours, English Language and Literature. D. Phil., St John's College, Oxford University, 1976-81
1981-1987: Lecturer in English Language and Literature, National University of Singapore.1987-1989: Assistant Professor, Department of English, University of Washington, Seattle. 1989-1995: Associate Professor with tenure, Department of English, University of Washington, Seattle. 1996- : Professor of Applied English Linguistics, School of English, University of Birmingham.
Teaching and Administrative Experience
1981-7, National University of Singapore: undergraduate courses taught in Language and Cultural Perception; Narrative Structures; Literary Stylistics, Introduction to Linguistics; Grammar; Phonetics. Supervision of senior undergraduate and M.A. theses in Stylistics, Discourse Analysis, and Pragmatics.
1987-1995, University of Washington: undergraduate courses taught in History of the English Language; English Syntax; Introduction to the Study of Language; and Literary Stylistics; graduate seminars taught on The Nature of Language: History and Theory; Stylistics; Discourse Analysis.
1996-present, Professor of English Language and currently Head of the Division of English Language and Applied Linguistics, at the University of Birmingham.
2009-11, Head of Department of English. Graduate and undergraduate classes taught on Stylistics, Narrative Analysis, and Discourse Analysis. Currently supervising six Ph D students, who are working on:
- narration and metanarration in modernist and postmodernist fiction;
- Shakespeare's style in the late plays;
- slave and migrant narratives: a Critical Discourse Analysis;
- domesticated horror and the uncanny in David Lynch's film narratives;
- style-maintenance and -degradation in French-to-English translation of postmodern fiction
- using corpus linguistic methods to evaluate Chinese-to-English literary translation
Membership of Professional Organisations and other Academic Activities:
Host/organizer for the Poetics and Linguistics Association (GB) and International Association of Literary Semantics conferences, Spring 2002.
Member of the Poetics and Linguistics Association of Great Britain; British Association of Applied Linguistics; International Association for the Integrational Study of Language and Communication.
Member of the editorial boards of the journals Language and Literature; Functions of Language; and Language Sciences; of the book series Linguistic Approaches to Literature (Benjamins); and of International Advisory panels for the on-line journal Semiotics (Toronto) and Topics in Language and Literature (Singapore).
Reader/adviser on book proposals and manuscripts for numerous publishers; adviser on tenure/promotion decisions to universities in several countries; external examiner for doctoral theses at, in the recent past, the University of Edinburgh, University of Southern Denmark, Goldsmiths College London, University of Nottingham, and the National University of Singapore. Sometime external examiner of BA and MA programmes at the University of Hong Kong, Lingnan University, University of Wolverhampton, Goldsmiths College London, and Cardiff University.
Chair, International Association of Literary Semantics (since October 2006);
Editor, Journal of Literary Semantics (since 2002).
Member of AHRB (subsequently AHRC) Research Awards Panel 3, for English Language and Literature, September 2001- January 2005.
Member of AHRC College of Research Award Assessors, wef March 2006.
Member of University Appeals Committees.
Member of University's Arts and Social Sciences Ethical Review Committee, from September 2007 (current)
Narrative: A Critical Linguistic Introduction (London: Routledge, 1988; Second Edition: 2001)
The Stylistics of Fiction: A Literary-Linguistic Approach (London: Routledge, 1990).
Total Speech: An Integrational Linguistic Approach to Language (Durham and London, Duke University Press, 1996).
Language, English Studies and Democracy. Inaugural Lecture delivered on 29 April 1997 in the University of Birmingham. Birmingham: The University of Birmingham School of English, 1997.
Language in Literature: An Introduction to Stylistics. (London: Arnold, 1997).
Narrative Progression in the Short Story: A Corpus Stylistic Approach. (New York and Amsterdam: Benjamins, 2009).
(Editor), Language, Text and Context: Essays in Contextualized Stylistics (London: Routledge, 1992).
(Editor and Introduction), Critical Discourse Analysis: Critical Concepts. An anthology in 4 volumes (London: Routledge, 2002).
Co-editor, co-author of Introduction, with Professor Carmen Rosa Caldas-Coulthard, The Writer's Craft, the Culture's Technology (Amsterdam: Rodopi, 2006).
(Editor), Language Teaching and Integrational Linguistics (New York: Routledge/Taylor and Francis, 2009).
Selected Contributions to Books:
"Compromising Positions: Systemic Linguistics and the Locally-Managed Semiotics of Dialogue'" in D. Birch and L. M. O'Toole, eds., Functions of Style (London: Pinter, 1988), pp.249-60.
"The Language of Press Advertising," in M. Ghadessy, ed., Registers of Written English (London: Pinter, 1988), pp.52-64.
"Analyzing Conversation in Fiction," in R. Carter and P. Simpson, eds., Language, Discourse and Literature (London, Unwin Hyman, 1988), pp.195-211.
"On Relevance Theory," in G. Wolf, ed., New Departures in Linguistics (New York: Garland, 1992), pp.146-162.
"Approaching Hill's 'Of Commerce and Society' through Lexis," in P. Verdonk, ed., Stylistic Approaches to Modern Poetry, Routledge, 1993, pp.49-60.
"Narrative" and "Natural Narratives"; article-length contributions to the Encyclopedia of Language and Linguistics, ed. R. Asher et al., Pergamon and Aberdeen University Press, 1994.
"On Recyclings and Irony," in R. Sell, P. Verdonk, eds., Literature and the New Interdisciplinarity: Poetics, Linguistics, History (Amsterdam & Atlanta: Rodopi, 1994), pp.79-92.
"Discourse style makes viewpoint: The example of Carver's narrator in 'Cathedral'", in J.-J. Weber and P. Verdonk, eds., Stylistic Approaches to Twentieth Century Fiction, Routledge, 1995, pp.126-137.
"The Give and Take of Talk, and Churchill's Cloud Nine," in P. Verdonk, J. Culpeper and M. Short, eds., Exploring the Language of Drama: From Text to Context, London: Routledge, 1998, 142-160.
"New Work on Deixis in Narrative," in W. Grunzweig and A. Solbach, eds., Transcending Boundaries: Narratology in Context, Tubingen: Gunter Narr Verlag, 1999, 147-163.
"Towards a Simple Schema of Speech Moves" in M. Coulthard, ed., Working with Dialogue: Papers from the 2nd IADA Conference, Gent: Niemeyer, 2000, 41-53.
"Quasi-Transcriptional Speech: A Compensatory Spokenness in Contemporary Literary Fiction" in T. Bex, M. Burke, and P. Stockwell, eds., Contextualized Stylistics: In Honor of Peter Verdonk, Rodopi: Amsterdam, 2000, 153-172.
On national dialects and Global: The new diglossia in English and its literatures" ed. C. S. Lim et al., Sharing A Commonwealth, Kuala Lumpur: ACLALS in association with the Department of English of the University of Malaya, 2001, pp. 44-66.
"The Language Myth and the Law", in R. Harris, ed., The Language Myth in Western Culture, Curzon Press: Richmond, Surrey, 2001, 159-182.
"An integrational linguistic view of coming into language: Reflexivity and metonymy", in J. Leather and J. van Dam, eds., Ecology of Language Acquisition, Kluwer: Dordrecht, 2002, 123-140.
"Narrative secrets in Alice Munro's stories." In S. Csabi and J. Zerkowitz, eds., Textual Secrets: the message of the medium. Proceedings of the 21st PALA Conference, 2001. Eotvos Lorand University, Budapest, 413-418.
"English as the supranational language of human rights?" In C. Mair, ed., The Politics of English as a World Language: New Horizons in Postcolonial Cultural Studies, Rodopi: Amsterdam, 2003.
"On the centrality of Stylistics." In K. Aijmer and B. Olinder, eds., Proceedings from the 8th Nordic Conference on English Studies, Gothenburg Studies in English vol. 84, 33-43, Gothenburg, 2003.
"Secrets, surprises, and gaps in the fiction of Munro and Wolf." In Tale, Novella, Short Story: Currents in Short Fiction, ed. Wolfgang Goertschacher and Holger Klein. Tübingen: Stauffenburg, 2004, 193-206.
"Graded expectations: on the textual and structural shaping of readers' narrative experience." In J. Pier, ed., The Dynamics of Narrative Form. Studies in Anglo-American Narratology, vol. 4 in the series Narratologia (Berlin; Walter de Gruyter) 2004, 215-236.
'Narrative: Linguistic and Structural Theories', 10,000-word article, in the Encyclopaedia of Language and Linguistics, in 14 vols., ed. K. Brown, Oxford: Elsevier, 2006, vol.8: 459-473.
'Speech and Thought: Representation', 10,000-word article, in the Encyclopaedia of Language and Linguistics, in 14 vols., ed. K. Brown, Oxford: Elsevier, 2006, vol.11: 698-710.
"Narratives in Conversation/ Spoken Narratives in Casual and Formal Settings", 12,000-word commissioned chapter, in J. Swann, ed., The Art of English, Milton Keynes: Open University, 2006.
"Part of the meaning/history of euro: integrational corpus linguistics", in Nigel Love, ed., Language and History: integrationist perspectives, London: Routledge, 2006, 172-187.
"The 'Irresponsibility' of FID", forthcoming in Pekka Tammi & Hannu Tommola (eds.) FREE language INDIRECT translation DISCOURSE narratology: Linguistic, Translatological, and Literary-Theoretical Encounters. Tampere Studies in Language, Translation and Culture. Series A 2. Tampere: Tampere University Press 2006. pp.261-278.
"The Futures of English Studies", to appear in Allan James, ed., Proceedings of the Alpine-Adriatic-Anglistics Conference of November 2005, Univ. of Klagenfurt, 2006.
"Language", in The Cambridge Companion to Narrative (Cambridge: CUP), ed. D. Herman, 2007. 231-244.
"Are Brummies Developing Narratives of European Identity?" In Sharon Millar and John Wilson, eds., The Discourse of Europe: Talk and Text in Everyday Life, Amsterdam: Benjamins, 2007. 79-94.
"Evaluating Students/Children's Writing Skills: Just More Grubby Verbal Hygiene? In Ming-yu Tseng, ed., Exploring Language at the Interface . Taipei: Crane Publishing, 2007. 128-146.
"The language of guidance", in Theorizing Narrativity, ed. John Pier and José Angel García. Berlin: De Gruyter, 2008: 307-329.
"Around 1990, Corpus Linguistics set in": Combining Systemic Linguistics, Corpus Methods, and Stylistics in the Study of Narrative. In Systemic Functional Linguistics in Use, ed. Nina Nørgaard, Odense Working Papers in Language and Communication vol. 29, 2008, 85-110. ISSN 0906-7612, ISBN: 978-87-90923-47-1. published online at the Syddansk Universitet's website (PDF link)
Enclycopedia entry for the Cambridge Encyclopedia of the Language Sciences, Edited by Patrick Colm Hogan, forthc. 2009.
"Stylistics". Enclycopedia entry for the Cambridge Encyclopedia of the Language Sciences, Edited by Patrick Colm Hogan, forthc. 2008.
"Does lexical patterning guide narrative expectation?" In Narrative, Cognition and Linguistics, ed. Per Krogh Hansen. Odense: University Press of Southern Denmark, forthc. 2009.
"Assessing written language: just more grubby verbal hygiene?" In Language Teaching and Integrational Linguistics, ed. M. Toolan, New York: Routledge, 2009, 140-155.
"Electronic multimodal narratives and literary form." In Ruth Page, ed., New Perspectives on Narrative and Multimodality, London: Routledge, forthc. 2010, 127--141.
"The Functioning of Progressive Verbal Forms in the Narrative of Go Down, Moses," Language and Style, 16:2 (Spring, 1983), 211-230.
"'Pantaloon in Black' in Go Down, Moses: The Functioning of the 'Breathing' Motif," Les Cahiers de la Nouvelle, 2 (January, 1984), 156-66.
"Stanley Fish and the Interpretive Communities of Responding Readers," Dutch Quarterly Review of Anglo-American Letters, January 1984, 66-82.
"Syntactic Styles and Narrative Characterization," Style, 19:1 (Spring, 1985), 78-93.
"Analyzing Fictional Dialogue," Language and Communication, 5:3 (1985), 193-206.
"Taking Hold of Reality: Politics and Style in Nadine Gordimer," VIIth ACLALS Bulletin (1985), 76-88.
"Analyzing Conversation in Fiction," Poetics Today, 8:2 (1987), 393-416.
"Ruling Out Rules in the Analysis of Conversation," a review- article of T. Taylor and D. Cameron's Analyzing Conversation (Pergamon, 1987), Journal of Pragmatics, 13:2 (1989), 251-274.
"Largely For Against Theory," Journal of Literary Semantics,19:3 (1990), 150-166.
"Perspectives on Literal Meaning," Language and Communication, 11:4 (1991), 333-351.
"Token and Value: A Discussion", Occasional Papers in Systemic Linguistics, vol. 6 (1992), 85-97.
"The Significations of Representing Dialect in Writing", Language and Literature, 1:1 (1992), 29-46.
"On Doing Things for Other People," contribution to peer commentary in a special issue of Language and Communication, on D. Cameron et al., 'Ethics, Advocacy, and Empowerment', 13:2 (1993), 137-140.
"A few words on telementation." Language Sciences, 19:1 (1997), 79-91. Issn 0388-0001(95)00029-1.
"What is critical discourse analysis and why are people saying such terrible things about it?" Language and Literature, 6:2 (1997), 83-103. Issn 0963-9470 (199706)
"Reply to Pilkington, MacMahon and Clark". Language and Literature, 7:1 (1998).
"Recentering English: New English and Global." English Today 52 (1997), 13:4, 3-8.
"Don't leave your language alone". Review article on D. Cameron's Verbal Hygiene (1995), in Language and Communication, vol. 18 (1998), 87-99.
"Integrational linguistics, relevance theory, and stylistic explanation: a reply to MacMahon." Language and Literature, 8:3 (1999), 255-268.
"Integrationist linguistics in the context of 20th century theories of language: some connections and projections." Language and Communication, vol. 19 (1999), 97-108..
"'What makes you think you exist?': a speech move schematic and its application to Pinter's The Birthday Party." Journal of Pragmatics, vol. 32 (2000),177-201.
"Le politiquement correct dans le monde francais". Discourse and Society, vol 14:1 (2003), 69-86.
"Values are Descriptions; or, from Literature to Linguistics and back again by way of Keywords" Belgian Journal of English Language and Literatures (BELL New Series 2), 11-30, 2004.
"Is there a genericness that shapes our ends?" review article on Lohafer's Reading for storyness, Journal of Literary Semantics, 34:1 (2005) 61-68.
Co-editor (by invitation) of a special issue of the European Journal of English Studies (9.2) Aug 2005 on the Cognitive Turn in Literary Studies, co-edited with Jean Jacques Weber (Univ. of Luxembourg).
Introduction, to a special issue of the European Journal of English Studies (9.2) Aug 2005 on the Cognitive Turn in Literary Studies above, co-written with JJ Weber, European Journal of English Studies (9.2), 107-115.
"Joke shop names", Journal of Literary Semantics, 34:2 (2005), 165-179.
"Top keyword abridgements of short stories: a corpus linguistic resource?", Journal of Literary Semantics, 35:2 (2006), 181-194.
International Journal of Corpus Linguistics, 12:2 (2007), 265–284. Special issue of essays on the work of John Sinclair (ed. R. Moon).
"Narrative Progression in the Short Story: First Steps in a Corpus Stylistic Approach", Narrative , vol 16, no.2 (2008), 105-120.
"Legal definitions". A review-article (8,000 words) on Roy Harris and Christopher Hutton, Definition in Theory and Practice: Language, Lexicography and the Law, and Sanford Schane, Language and the Law. Language and Communication (2009). vol 29, 182-192.
with Talbot Taylor, "Recent Trends in Stylistics," Journal of Literary Semantics, 13:1 (1984), 55-75.
with R. Bhaya Nair and R. Carter, "Clines of Metaphoricity, and Creative Metaphors as Situated Risktaking," Journal of Literary Semantics, 17:2 (1988), 20-40.
with G. Dillon et al. [WAUDAG], "Analyzing a Speech Event: The Bush-Rather Exchange", Cultural Anthropology, 4:1 (1989), 73-94. [WAUDAG: the University of Washington Discourse Analysis Group]
with G. Dillon et al. [WAUDAG], "Resisting the Public Discourse of AIDS", Textual Practice, Autumn, 1989, 388-396.
with G. Dillon et al. [WAUDAG], "The Rhetorical Construction of a President", Discourse and Society, 1:2 (1990), 189-200.
with G. Dillon et al. [WAUDAG], "Language and Power in Critical Linguistics", International Journal of the Sociology of Language, 103 (1993).
Reviews of works on discourse analysis, stylistics, and linguistic theory, in the following journals: Journal of Literary Semantics; Style; Poetics Today; English Studies; TESOL Quarterly; Language and Literature; Language and Communication; Social Semiotics; Sociolinguistics; and Language in Society.
Review of Geoffrey Sampson, The 'Language Instinct' Debate. Revised edition. London and New York: Continuum, 2005, in Language in Society, 36(4), 622-626, September, 2007.
Conference Papers and Talks
"Analyzing Conversation in Fiction," British Association of Applied Linguistics Discourse Conference, Hatfield, April 1983.
"Analyzing Fictional Discourse," 7th World Congress of Applied Linguistics, Brussels, August 1984.
"Semantics, Pragmatics and Literal Meaning (Or, What's In a Name?)," MLA Convention, Chicago, 1985.
"The Valorization of Black South African Vernacular in White South African Fiction," MLA Convention, New Orleans, 1988;
"Literal Meaning and Integrationalist Linguistics," Conference on Re-defining Linguistics, Kirksville, Missouri, March, 1989;
"Token and Value: A Discussion", 18th International Systemic Linguistics Conference, Stirling U.K., July 1990;
"Relevance, Repetition and Emergent Grammar: Their Possible Impact on Literary Linguistics", PALA (GB) Annual Conference, Amsterdam, September 1990;
"You can't join a debating society and not speak: on clarity and argumentation within systemic linguistics", Plenary Address to the 21st International Systemic Linguistics Conference, Victoria B.C., July 1993;
"'Character speech': a compensatory spokenness in contemporary fiction", presentation to the Oslo Linguistics Circle, University of Oslo, Norway, September 1994;
"The Principles of Stylistics", Contribution to a graduate seminar on Style and Discourse, University of Oslo, Norway, September 1994;
"New Work on Deixis in Narrative", presentation to the conference on Narrative, Rhetoric and Linguistics, University of Dortmund, 9-11 February, 1996.
"What is critical discourse analysis and why are people saying such terrible things about it?" Plenary talk given to the Poetics and Linguistics Association (Great Britain) Annual Conference, April 1996, at Queen's University, Belfast.
What is critical discourse analysis and why are people saying such terrible things about it? University of Birmingham School of English ELR Staff Seminar, 7 May 1996.
"On Critical Discourse Analysis". Talk given in the Department of English Language and Literature staff seminar series, National University of Singapore, July, 1996.
"What's New in Newspaper Narratives". Talk given to the Department of English, National Technological University, Singapore, July 1996.
"On the situated meaning of Wh- expressions"; a paper presented at the 21st International Systemic-Functional Linguistic Congress, Sydney, Australia, July 15-19, 1996.
"Trying to see grammar differently: On David Brazil's Grammar of Speech". University of Birmingham School of English ELR Staff Seminar, 26 November 1996.
"New developments in Deixis." Cardiff Language Seminar, University of Wales, Cardiff, February, 1997.
"Linguistic Criticism". Tunisian Society for Anglo-Saxon Studies, Sfax, Tunisia, May 1997.
Round Table on Integrational Linguistics, International Congress of Linguists, Paris, July, 1997.
"Quasi-transcriptional speech: a new, compensatory spokenness in contemporary fiction". Plenary lecture to the International Association of Literary Semantics 2nd Biennial Conference, Freiburg, September 1997.
"On national dialects and Global: the new diglossia in English and its literatures." Plenary talk given to the Association of Commonwealth Languages and Literatures Society triennial conference, Kuala Lumpur, December 1998.
"An integrational linguistic approach to language acquisition". Ecology of Language Colloquium, Amsterdam, January 1999.
"On a simple speech-move schema". International Association for Dialogue Analysis, Birmingham, April, 1999.
"Speech moves and discourse analysis". Croatian Association of Applied Linguistics, Opatija, May, 1999.
"Nation languages, local literatures, and international readers: a new indigenization in native English writers?". MAVEN 2: Second International Conference on Major Varieties of English, University of Lincoln, Lincoln UK, September 1999.
"Integrational Linguistics and Systemic Linguistics: Any Common Ground?" staff seminar given to the Department of English Language, University of Liverpool, November 1999.
"Textual coherence and contemporary literary dialogue." Talk to the Department of English, Goldsmiths College, London, November 1999.
"Sociolinguistics, Integrational Linguistics, and the Law of Theft". Paper delivered at the Sociolinguistics Symposium 2000, University of Western England, Bristol, April 2000.
"Narratives of European identity: Everyday stories of Brummie folk, and where Europe fits in". Paper to the EuroConference on Narratives of Everyday Life in Europe. La Londe-les-Maures (Toulon), May 2000.
"Joke Shop-Namings." Paper delivered at the Poetics and Linguistics Association (PALA) annual conference, June 2000, Goldsmiths College, London.
"The Language Myth and the Law." Paper delivered at the International Association for the Integrational Study of Language and Communication inaugural conference (IAISLC), July 2000, Goldsmiths College, London.
"The time-line in the hard-news story: a cross-cultural comparison". Paper given at the British Association of Applied Linguistics annual conference, September 2000, Cambridge, as part of a University of Birmingham colloquium on 'Cross-cultural modes of representation in media discourse'.
"Narrative secrets and surprises in Alice Munro's stories." Paper delivered at the 21st Poetics and Linguistics Association conference, Budapest, April 2001.
"On the Centrality of Stylistics". Invited plenary paper delivered to the Scandinavian Conference on English Language and Literature, Göteborg, Sweden, May 2001.
"English as the supranational language of human rights?". Invited plenary paper delivered to the GNEL/MAVEN Conference on New Varieties of English language and literature, University of Freiburg, 6-9 June, 2001.
"Structure and summarizability in the contemporary novella". Invited paper to the Salzburg Conference on Tale, Novella, Short Story: Currents in Short Fiction, University of Salzburg, November 2001.
"On the Centrality of Stylistics". Plenary Paper, AEDEAN conference, University of Granada, December 2001. Also appears in the CD conference proceedings, 2002.
"Integrationism, corpus linguistics, and writing the euro's history in Britain", paper delivered at the Second Integrational Linguistics International Conference, on 'Integational Linguistics and History', New Orleans, March 23-27, 2002. To appear in a Routledge book of revised papers from the conference, ed. N. Love, in 2004.
"Finding a bridge between corpus linguistics and the reader's processing of literature, the author's making of literature." Plenary paper given at FINSSE (The Second Finnish Conference of English Studies) Tampere 21-23 August 2003.
"Values are Descriptions; or, from Literature to Linguistics and back again by way of Keywords," a plenary lecture at the annual conference of the Belgian National Association for English Language and Literature Studies in Belgium, Ghent, November, 2003.
"Narrative Progression and Reader Expectation", a paper given at the conference on Interdisciplinary Approaches to Short Fiction: Theory and Criticism, University of Salamanca, March 2004.
One-week graduate lecture series in Granada, Spain, in May 2004.
" The language of guidance: narrativity and narrative progression", a paper delivered as part of a panel on Narrativity at the ESSE 7 Conference (European Society for the Study of English), Zaragoza, September 2004.
"Rights and identity: a contemporary preoccupation in socio-legal and literary studies": a talk given to the Department of English, Tampere, Finland, 23 September 2004.
"The irresponsibility of Free Indirect Discourse", a paper presented by me as one of two invited speakers at a one-day colloquium on Free Indirect Discourse, at Tampere, 24 September 2004.
"Whatever next?: Narrative expectation and progression", a talk given to the Department of English and American Studies, University of Murcia, Spain, May 2005.
"The Futures of English Studies", invited plenary paper to the Alpine-Adriatic-Anglistics Conference, November 2005.
"Narrative texture and effect: corpus stylistic evidence", invited plenary paper at O Kosmos Ton Keimenon, A World of Texts, a conference in honour of Professor George Babiniotis, Rector of the Kapodistrian University of Athens, Athens, May 2006.
"Narrative texture, organisation, and effect: corpus stylistic evidence", invited talk as part of panel on Cognitive and/or Empirical Approaches to the Study of Short Fiction, 9th International Conference on the Short Story, Lisbon, June 2006
"Strange Sense: finding it, making it, expecting it", plenary talk given at the Fourth Conference of the International Association of Literary Semantics, The Jagiellonian University of Kraków, Poland, 12 October 2006.
"Using corpus methods in the analysis of narrative texture", Language Staff-Student Seminar, Aston University, Birmingham, 25 October 2006.
Invited plenary talk to a Conference on Narrative, Cognition, Linguistics, to be hosted by the Center for Narratological Studies, University of Southern Denmark, Kolding, 9-10 November 2006.
Plenary, 'Narrative Progression in the Short Story: A Corpus Stylistic Approach", Society for the Study of Narrative Literature Conference, Washington DC, March 15-18, 2007.
"Alice Munro and Narrative", English Department joint Language and Literature staff seminar, 28 March 2007, University of Birmingham.
Plenary lecture on Multimodal narrative and verbal form, in Narrative and Multimodality Conference, UCE April 2007.
Department of English, University of Kiaohsiung, Taiwan, One-week visiting professorship, May 2007, and two talks in a Workshop on Applied Linguistics.
Visiting professor for ISFC pre-Congress Summer School, Univ. of Southern Denmark, Odense, July 10-14, 2007, giving one-week workshop on narrative progression and corpus stylistics.
"Around 1990, Corpus Linguistics set in." Plenary talk at the 23rd International Congress of Systemic Linguistics, Univ. of Southern Denmark, Odense, July 16-20, 2007.
"Pressures on and from English Legal Terms in Global Contexts", invited talk in the Beijing Forum, University of Beijing, China, 2-4 November 2007
"How Does Literary Language Move Us?" Invited plenary talk at the XIV Susanne Hübner international seminar, "Linguistics and persuasive communication", University of Zaragoza, Spain, 14-17 November 2007.
Invited plenary at the Linguistics & Poetics Conference in honour of the influences of Roman Jakobson, Carlsberg Academy, Copenhagen, 24-25 January 2008.
Corpus stylistics and feeling, Invited workshop participant, International Society for the Linguistics of English (ISLE), Freiburg, Germany, 12-15 October, 2008.
Stylistics, Repetition and Emotion, Invited Plenary, 2nd International Stylistics Conference, October 20-22, 2008, Shanghai.
Invited plenary, "Literariness and Creativity," 3rd International Roundtable on Discourse Analysis: Discourse and Creativity, City University of Hong Kong, May 7-9, 2009.
"Immersion and emotion in students reading poems and stories: can reader responses and corpus methods converge?" Talk, Department of English, University of Hong Kong, 5 May 2009.
"Literariness, expectation, and the 'right sort' of repetition." Talk, Department of English, Hong Kong Baptist University, 5 May 2009.
Work in Progress and Current Research Interests
Current research work includes
- Applications of corpus linguistic analysis to the study of narrative progression and the guidance of readers' expectations
- Integrational linguistics in theory and practice
- Stylistic analysis of reader-emotion and -immersion in narrative texts
- Narratively bound for university? Teenage personal narratives and identities in transition
Volume 5, No. 1, Art. 19 – January 2004
Public and Private Narratives1)
Conference on Narrative, Ideology and Myth. Second Tampere Conference on Narrative. University of Tampere, Finland, 26-28 June 2003, organized by Matti Hyvärinen
Abstract: This essay examines a conference on narrative. The field of narrative studies is by nature interdisciplinary, which leads to certain strengths and weaknesses, both of which were evident during the conference. On the one hand, as a result of the myriad approaches to and definitions of narrative and narrative analysis, the conference perhaps lacked a sense of coherence. However, the conference showed that overriding this weakness in narrative studies is the fruitful cross-fertilization that can occur when a field is truly interdisciplinary. Thus, concepts and theories can and do travel from one discipline to another, gaining new meaning and providing new insight on the way.
Key words: narrative, narrative analysis, qualitative methods
Table of Contents
1. Introduction: The Field(s) of Narrative Studies
2. Narrative, Ideology and Myth: Conference Overview
3. Conference Content: The Plenary Sessions
4. Conference Content: The Paper Sessions
4.1 Narrative, self and (collective) identities
4.2 Politics and the arts
4.3 Narrated professions
4.4 Mythic, normal and normative stories
1. Introduction: The Field(s) of Narrative Studies
It is perhaps difficult to define "the" field of narrative studies because it is both multidisciplinary and interdisciplinary. It is multidisciplinary in the sense that narratives are analyzed in many different disciplines and interdisciplinary in that often the various disciplines will borrow concepts and methodologies from each other. However, the defining characteristic of narratives and narrative analysis is that not only are they used in various ways across the different disciplines, but also within one discipline they are employed differently. 
To begin with, there are varying definitions of what a "narrative" is or of what constitutes "narrative analysis." However, there are some basic elements that most can agree on. First, a narrative is constituted of a sequence of connected events (LABOV, 1972, p.360; GENETTE, 1980, p.25; RIMMON-KENAN 1983, pp.2, 15; TOOLAN, 1988, p.4). A narrative requires the presence of a story, thus narratives must have a point. The sequence of events is ordered temporally and bound together in a logical fashion. In other words, a narrative is made non-random by help of a plot (RICOEUR, 1985, p.8). A narrative has a beginning, a middle, and an end (TOOLAN, 1988, pp.4-5) and also tells of becoming. There is in other words a "before" and an "after" in a narrative, where the initial state of affairs is disrupted. Thus a narrative not only travels through time but travels from point A to point B. 
For many years narratives were studied almost exclusively in the humanities. Narrative analysis has a far-reaching tradition within humanistic disciplines such as linguistics and history, while the social sciences regard narratives as "the epistemological other" (SOMERS, 1994, p.606). Beginning in the 1960s and continuing today, the social sciences have experienced a "narrative turn," to the point where in some fields narratives have become quite fashionable. This trend began with psychology and medical sociology, but now spans all the social sciences. Today, narratives are used from linguistics to political science to business studies. The social sciences have not only adopted the concept of narrative, but have also reconfigured it to suit their own disciplines. 
The contemporary understanding is that there is a relationship between text and social reality. It is understood that not only are social relations embedded in linguistic practices (FRANZOSI, 1998, pp.547, 550), but also that conversely, narrative accounts are embedded in social action (GERGEN & GERGEN, 1988, p.18). Thus narratives speak to social epistemology and social ontology (SOMERS, 1994, p.606). It is through narratives that we know the social reality and ourselves. Individuals in other words live storied lives (CARR, 1985; RIESSMAN, 1993) and it is through stories that we make sense of the world and construct our identities. 
It is exactly this interplay between the social and the individual that is one of the key concerns of narrative analysts of today. The focus of much work is on the collective narratives that exist within societies, in the form of ideologies and myths, and on how these narratives play out both on a collective and on an individual level. There can be myths about a nation state that are employed not only by politicians and ideologues but also by individuals. There are also collective narratives concerned with what it means to be a woman or a man, middle-class or working-class, black or white, mother or father, plumber or banker, and so on. It is in dialogue with these that individuals construct their sense of self in relation to others. These collective narratives can act both as a resource and as a restrictive or oppressive force. 
2. Narrative, Ideology and Myth: Conference Overview
The interdisciplinary nature of narrative studies lends both to its strengths and weaknesses. A strength is the wealth of approaches and analytical tools, as well as the productive "cross-fertilization" that can occur when two or more disciplines meet. A weakness is the difficulty to pin down what exactly narrative analysis is doing and to what aim. Both of these were apparent in the conference "Narrative, Ideology and Myth," held on 26-28 June 2003 at the University of Tampere in Finland. 
The call for papers for this conference on "Narrative, Ideology, and Myth" emphasized the relation between ideology and narrative, which in turn leads to questions of power, normativity and emancipation. Narratives can enable all three. The call for papers envisaged that the conference would explore the diversity of the field, with a focus on the "social, cultural and political circulation of narratives, and the different forms narrativity takes, and the significance it assumes, within social action." The conference was meant to address the issues of myth and persuasive stories. The call for papers also asked for papers to address the tension between partiality and universalism and to explore narrative theorizing. The call stated that
"We will ask whether narrative can help to understand subjectivity as a form of social and political agency always in relation with others, as agency that can exist outside the traditional boundaries of Politics"
"What is the relationship between narrative and social, political, and cultural identities in times of global, de-terrorialized times and spaces. What is the relationship between myth, storytelling and political identity in times of globalization?" 
The were 149 participants at the conference. During the conference, 75 papers were presented, including the plenary sessions. The presenters hailed from all over the world, with only under a third from Finland. The rest of the presenters came from the United Kingdom, Israel, Canada, the United States, various Western and Eastern European countries, Russia, Nigeria, Mexico, New Zealand and Australia. There was a refreshing mix of established academics and younger researchers. 
3. Conference Content: The Plenary Sessions
There were three plenary sessions during the conference. The first, "Stories in a narrative frame: working from the perimeter of memorial spaces" was given by Professor Liz STANLEY who is Research Chair of Sociology at the University of Newcastle in the UK. In her talk, she examined the (visible) traces that the South African war (Boer War) in the late 19th century has left on South African society. STANLEY based her talk on an analysis of public remembrance and war commemoration, and the role that the state, the mass media, and propaganda have played in this. She showed how the various acts of remembrance have created canonical versions of the past that have supplanted direct memory. With the help of the concept of legendary topography she examined the temporal and spatial dynamics of how memory is reconstructed post hoc. STANLEY discussed political mythology and how ideology is cast in the form of a story, in this case, the political mythology of Apartheid. STANLEY pointed to the problem that exists in defining narrative and story. In her view, the lack of precise definitions in this interdisciplinary area (although in specific fields they may be defined), is a problem. 
The second plenary talk on "Prophetic narratives and political theory" was given by David GUTTERMAN who is Visiting Professor of Politics at Willamette University in Salem, Oregon in the US. GUTTERMAN focused on the role of narratives in politics. He explored how narratives play a part in the reforming of history and as a tool for defining collective identity. Narratives can aid comprehension and create boundaries. Narratives are also used to create sacred stories. There are thus hard to break narrative patterns, but narratives can also open the past to new possibilities of meaning. On the question of meaning vs. truth, GUTTERMAN laid stress on meaning rather than unitary truth. Related to this, he discussed the threat that is currently posed to contingency and plurality by aiming for "mastery" of truth in US politics. 
Professor Mark FREEMAN from the Psychology Department at the College of the Holy Cross in Worcester, Massachusetts in the US gave the third plenary talk entitled "Myth, memory and moral space of autobiographical narrative." FREEMAN highlighted that memories are not set in stone but change over time. Later events determine in part the significance of what came before, but this does not mean that our memories are infinitely malleable. The past is only flexible or changeable to a degree, as some stories cannot be rewritten or reconstructed, and some experiences cannot be escaped. Memory expressed in a story can become mythical in a negative sense, leading to convenient, self-serving, and ideologically driven myths of the self. Narratives can open up space for new possibilities, whereas myths can act as barriers for new interpretations. The past is historical, which allows us a view "from above," whereas we are partially blind when it comes to the "now." Narratives are a way of bridging the disjointed experience of the now, being caught in the moment. "What really happened" is inseparable from narrative—we understand our experiences in narrative form. Interpretation is unavoidable, but interpretations are always contestable. Truth is not absolute, and narratives can help us rethink what "truth" is. 
The three plenary talks mirrored the general focus of the conference on both the collective and the individual. We saw how collective myths are used to shape a nationality's understanding of itself and how narratives of various forms are used to reshape the past to fit certain ideological ends. The three presenters also discussed the fascinating question of truth and memory in narrative from various angles. To what extent are narratives "true"—to what extent can a narrative ever "truly" convey an event, a person, or a sequence of events? We understand the world through language, and hence interpretation is in-built in how we convey social reality. Thus it is important to be mindful of who the author of a narrative is, and in which social context the narrative has been constructed. There are many aspects that come into play when we construct narratives: ideology, myth, memory, situation, audience, etc. Narratives therefore inevitably offer fragmented "truths" or pictures of "reality," but they are the best we have and should therefore not be discarded as the focus of serious study. There are perhaps even dangers associated in searching for "the Truth," as meaning can never be set in stone and must always be open to new interpretation. 
4. Conference Content: The Paper Sessions
The paper sessions were organized around four core sections: "Narrative, self and (collective) identities," "Politics and the arts," "Narrated professions," and "Mythic, normal and normative stories." Already the titles for these sections give a flavor of the conference and the themes and topics that emerged during it. One area of focus was on "public" and collective narratives that were largely analyzed from a political perspective. A second focus was on "private" or personal narratives. Of course these two are not mutually exclusive, as collective narratives speak to and are employed in the construction of personal narratives. It was indeed common for the papers to consider these two together. Below, I will give a short commentary on the topics that were discussed under each of the four sections. 
4.1 Narrative, self and (collective) identities
The four sessions under this section were entitled: "Self and identity in (late) modernity"; "Traces of the past: the Israeli identity"; "Narrative formation of identity; and Reflective, personal narratives." The papers mainly focused on how individuals perform identities and construct narrative selves. The researchers showed how individuals construct their identities through narrative practices and with the help of reflexivity. One central argument was that individuals do so in the context of collective cultural and national narratives or identities. The paper "Performing identity and the touristic discourse of authenticity" by Chaim NOY, for example, focused on the narratives told by young Israeli backpackers. He examined not so much the text but the telling of it, thus pointing to the narrative devices used by the narrators in order to convey to the audience the authenticity of their experiences. In implicating the audience in the telling, the narrators used shared cultural narratives. In a paper entitled "An overview to women's 'self-development' narratives," Anne-Maree SAWYER examined the central ingredients of "self-development" narratives as told by Australian women. She showed that these narratives employed similar shared collective narratives such as the self as project, the "inner self," and therapeutic narratives. These narratives were based on notions of individualism and were told by younger middle-class women, whereas older working-class women told stories of struggle and survival. SAWYER thus pointed out that structural inequalities place constraints on an individual's ability to narrate a self. 
Another focus was on research methodology: how researchers define the concept of narrative and how narratives are constructed, and conversely how these definitions affect how narratives are analyzed. In his paper "This strange peculiarity: A tale about listening with mother," Raymond HICKMAN artfully laid bare the process of constructing a narrative. He argued that a narrative requires structure and forward momentum. He also showed how a narrative can never fully convey a situation, and how the telling of this situation is a process of distilling memories into one narrative. Thus the boundary between fact and fiction is always blurred. 
4.2 Politics and the arts
The six sessions under this section were entitled: "Myth and method: social, political and artistic narratives"; "Myth, memory and method"; "Political theory and narrative I"; "Political theory and narrative II"; "Myth, narrative and literary fiction"; "Narrating nation and class." The papers in this section were mainly focused on collective identities and political myths. The papers showed how myths are often used to reshape the present and the past to fit an ideology and hence offer a way of transmitting ideologies. Indeed, ideology cannot exist without narrative. Mahmoud EID examined in his paper "Representations of the Egypt Air flight 990 crash in American and Egyptian newspapers" how the mass media on either side employed certain cultural myths in producing a positive self-representation and a negative other-representation. 
Many of the papers were in some way connected to the events during or after the Second World War, for example the use of myths by the fascist regimes, among Holocaust survivors, and during the Cold War. For example in the paper "A mythopoetic approach to the Italian Fascist regime," Xavier GUILLAUME argued that the Italian fascists employed recurrent ideological mythemes in order to legitimize the regime's power. Understandably, the issues of memory and remembering were pertinent in the papers, many of which focused on the acts of remembering and re-constructing the past. This can be done either to validate an ideology or to make sense of one's own identity after the destruction of the Holocaust. Eros FERENC argued in the paper "Identity discourses and narrative reconstructions after the Holocaust" that the identities of the offspring of Holocaust survivors are also affected by memories of the Holocaust. Their identities were still constructed on notions of loss and suffering. 
Another area of focus was the use of narrative in political theory. There was also a focus on the arts such as literary fiction. The papers discussed not only how ideologies are transmitted through movies, for example, but also how fictional writing can offer a way of opening up political theory, history, and nationalism to new meanings and understandings. 
4.3 Narrated professions
The six sessions under this section were titled: "Teacher's professional identity"; "Struggles in narratives"; "Narrative and implementation of new practices"; "Teacher in personal narratives"; "Narrative, profession and power"; "Professional narratives." The teaching profession was prominent with papers examining teachers' professional identity as viewed from the outside by pupils and from the inside by teachers themselves. 
The paper "Facing ethical problems in studying teachers' stories" by Eila ESTOLA and Freema ELBAZ-LUWISCH raised the issue of research ethics. They asked to what extent criteria such as trust, openness, and authenticity can be met in narrative research. They also raised questions concerning the ownership of narratives and the transforming effect that research has on the narratives told by research participants. An interesting question that arose during another session had to do with whether narrative analysis can only be used to study individuals we as researchers "like" and approve of. If one as a researcher is unable to fully approve of the research participants (e.g., murderers or rapists), does that mean that one should not study such individuals? 
Theoretically and methodologically, the papers in this section were not unlike those presented in the following section. The common denominator among the papers was the intermingling of the personal and the collective. 
4.4 Mythic, normal and normative stories
The five sessions under this section were titled: "Illness narrative and the institutions of care"; "Struggling with illness narratives"; Violence in family context"; "Resisting the grand narratives of family"; "Cultural versions of family narrative." This was the most explicitly "personal" of the four sections, focusing on the individual and on how individuals craft their identities. Individuals use cultural tools such as collective narratives and identities when doing so, but they are also met with cultural narratives that can act in an oppressive way. Thus there were papers that focused on how, for example, individuals with an illness or individuals whose lives were in other ways "non-normative" use various strategies when dealing with the normative narratives that abound in each society. For example Laura CAMFIELD showed in her paper "Narrative of Dystonia" how individuals use public templates to provide acceptable ways of presenting their condition. It is not surprising that the issue of illness narratives was prominent in the conference as medical sociology was one of the first fields in sociology to embrace narrative studies. 
The papers also drew the audience's attention to the importance of context: that individuals create narratives and identities in a social context at particular historical periods, using collective tools to make themselves understood and accepted. These cultural narratives of course vary from one society to another, but also within a country there are different narratives available for women and men, for the working-classes and the middle-classes and for people of various ethnic or cultural backgrounds. In her paper "Single women's narratives" Jill REYNOLDS showed how single women, who are faced with stigmatizing public constructions of singleness, through rhetorical work are able to construct a more positive narrative. They emphasize that while they do not have a partner or a husband, they have been successful in reaching other "goals," while at the same time idealizing interpretations which represent singleness as a form of independence. 
Individuals with limited narrative resources can find themselves stuck in the sense of seeing no escape from a negative or oppressive situation or identity. In other instances, narratives can play an emancipatory role. Brett SMITH provided examples of circumstances where narratives can act in a restrictive way. Some of the men with spinal cord injury that had been interviewed for his paper with Andrew SPARKES "Men, sport and spinal cord injury" told "restitution" stories where the focus was on restoring the old able-bodied self at the expense of developing other identities. In contrast, other men told quest narratives where they accepted their disability as permanent and sought to use it in narrating the self. 
As mentioned above, there was almost a clear binary division between the collective and the personal in the paper sessions that comprised the conference. The sessions that dealt with the public and collective aspects of narrative tended to be theory-driven and de-gendered, whereas the sessions dealing with personal narratives were of a more empirical nature and explicitly addressed the issue of gender. 
A wide array of topics and issues emerged, all in some degree connected to the issue of how narratives shape experience. The sessions explored the power of narrative to define "reality": who has this power and who does not, and how this power is reflected in narrative. Narratives can also have the power of persuasion. Narratives are used to make sense and to make meaning. Narratives are always told from a particular perspective and thus always contain "bias." Three main themes were distinguishable in how narratives were examined during the conference: first, how individuals use narratives; second, how narratives are employed collectively; and third, how researchers study narratives. 
The first theme has to do with narratives on the individual level. Here identity becomes central—how individuals use (collective) narratives to construct identity. Identity is situational and narratives of the self are embodied. Rhetorical work is required to deal with dominant cultural narratives. The audience also has expectations to hear certain kinds of narrative from certain kinds of individuals. Narratives are often judged on the basis of their authenticity and credibility. This is where the power of myths becomes visible, in how they guide our understanding of "reality" and how it can be told. The violation of this expectation leads to emotion; and emotion in narrative is an often overlooked aspect. The transgression of cultural narratives can lead to a loss of tellability, in other words, to the inability to tell one's life story. A number of the papers explored such identity loss and the resulting attempt to create coherent identities in the face of change. Identity construction is often grounded in the wish for recognition, hence the use of collectively recognizable narratives and identities. At times this can lead to institutionalized selves and the ritualistic use of language. There is also such a thing as narrative capital in that some individuals have more scope in defining their own experiences and situation. To sum up, individuals do not have free range when constructing a self, as structural and other constraints exist. 
The second theme deals with collective narratives, such as social and cultural myths. The papers explored how these collective narratives are present in the media, in literature, in political narratives, and in ideology (as well as in personal narratives). There were links made between the global and the local. Narratives offer a clue as to how individuals in a particular culture experience and organize "reality." "Reality" is hence cultural and context-dependent. Another issue was the use of collective master narratives in identity construction and in identity politics. The papers also explored how myths as well as other narrative tools and concepts are used collectively and individually. There are links between myths and the individual. Myths can place constraints on the individual, leading to narrative struggles or an attempt to re-narrate myths. Another important issue is that of memory in the form of the politics of memory (for example regarding the Holocaust). Narratives are also used in international relations and in nation-building. 
The third theme had to do with methodology: first of all, the construction of narratives. This conference continued with the question of what is needed for a narrative. On an epistemological level, the question of to what extent a narrative can convey a situation was raised. Memory plays an important part here in distilling memories into one narrative. Who creates the narrative is also important, and whether the narrative reaches its final form in the telling or in the listening/reading. Ethical questions were also raised, such as trust, the ownership of narratives, and how analysis transforms these narratives into something else. Narratives not only convey emotion but also create an emotional response, and hence emotion is an important aspect of fieldwork. As with emotion in narratives, emotion in fieldwork is also often overlooked. 
In sum, the questions posed by the call for papers were thoroughly discussed, analyzed, and reflected from various angles: from the individual to the social and back again. The diversity of the field was clearly evident, with representatives from sociology, political science, business studies, health sciences, media and communication studies, psychology, education, linguistics, history, literature, international relations, peace research, musicology, philosophy, women's studies, anthropology, exercise and sports science, geography, and IT. This was a truly interdisciplinary conference, with few if any spats between the disciplines. There was a genuine tolerance for "other" ways of doing narrative analysis. This is perhaps the best result of the lack of commonly shared definitions and methodologies. Although the delegate may have left the conference none the wiser as to what "narrative" is or how it should best be studied, the lasting impression is that this perhaps goes to the heart of the nature of "narrative." Just as there can be no single "True" narrative of "reality," there can be no "True" definition of what narrative is about. 
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Franzosi, Roberto (1998). Narrative Analysis—Or Why (and How) Sociologists Should Be Interested in Narrative. Annual Review of Sociology, 24, 517-554.
Genette, Gérard (1980). Narrative Discourse (Jane E. Lewin, Trans.). Oxford: Blackwell. (Original work published 1972)
Gergen, Kenneth & Gergen, Mary (1988). Narrative and the Self as Relationship. Advances in Experimental Psychology, 21, 17-56.
Labov, William (1972). Language in the City: Studies in the Black English Vernacular. Philadelphia: University of Pennsylvania Press.
Ricoeur, Paul (1985). Time and Narrative (Vol. 2) (Kathleen McLaughlin & David Pellauer, Trans.). Chicago: University of Chicago Press. (Original work published in 1984)
Riessman, Catherine Kohler (1993). Narrative Analysis. Newbury Park, CA: Sage.
Rimmon-Kenan, Shlomith (1983). Narrative Fiction: Contemporary Poetics. London: Methuen.
Somers, Margaret R. (1994). The Narrative Constitution of Identity: A Relational and Network Approach. Theory and Society, 23, 605-649.
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Vanessa MAY is Research Fellow at the Centre for Research on Family, Kinship and Childhood at the University of Leeds. Her research interests include lone motherhood, post-separation/divorce family life and family law, as well as narrative and biographical research methods. She is currently working on a research project on contact and residence disputes in court.
Dr. Vanessa May
Centre for Research on Family, Kinship & Childhood
Department of Sociology and Social Policy
University of Leeds
Leeds LS2 9JT, UK
Tel.: +44-113-343 4421
Fax: +44-113-343 4600
May, Vanessa (2004). Public and Private Narratives. Conference Essay: Conference on Narrative, Ideology and Myth—Second Tampere Conference on Narrative [30 paragraphs]. Forum Qualitative Sozialforschung / Forum: Qualitative Social Research, 5(1), Art. 19, http://nbn-resolving.de/urn:nbn:de:0114-fqs0401192.