AHSS 1: Language and conflict in North Cambridgeshire

Faculty: Arts, Humanities and Social Sciences

Supervisors: Dr Vahid Parvaresh, Dr Samantha Lundrigan and Dr Anna Markowska

Interview date: 20 May 2021

According to Public Order Act 1986, a public order offence is usually characterised by conduct or speech which causes, among other things, fear or distress. Examples could include the ‘use of threatening, abusive or insulting words or behaviour’. Similarly, according to Crime and Disorder Act 1998, anti-social behaviour involves ‘acting in a manner that caused or was likely to cause harassment, alarm or distress to one or more persons not of the same household as [the defendant]’. Examples could range from ‘making threats’, ‘verbal abuse’, ‘bullying’ and ‘sending nasty letters’ to ‘menacing gestures’ (Home Office, 2004).

While there is a relationship between the above-cited offences and various social and psychological factors, there is currently a lack of academic research on ‘perceptions’ of offence as experienced by different groups of individuals in different parts of the UK. The proposed PhD project will make a significant step in addressing this gap.

The successful candidate will investigate perceptions of ‘rudeness, incivility, language aggression and conflict’ in Wisbech, a ‘market town’ located in the Fenland district of Cambridgeshire. They are expected to draw on recent developments, scholarship and literature on ‘linguistic (im)politeness’ and ‘language aggression’. The overall aim is to uncover and elucidate the hidden and underlying beliefs, judgments and evaluations that influence the use and perception of such behaviour/language. The successful candidate would therefore be expected to engage in (ethnographic) fieldwork among the local community.

The ideal candidate will have a strong background in linguistics, or a related field, with a particular interest in ‘(im)politeness studies’. Knowledge of criminology, or willingness to familiarise yourself with its relevant concepts, theories and methods, will be a plus.

Working within the School of Humanities and Social Sciences, the student will benefit from the experience and guidance of a multidisciplinary supervisory team comprising colleagues from Linguistics, Criminology and the Policing Institute for the Eastern Region.

Apply online by 25 April

Funding notes

This successful applicant for this project will receive a Vice Chancellor’s PhD Scholarship which covers Home tuition fees and provides a UKRI equivalent minimum annual stipend for three years. For 2021/2 this will be £15,609 per year. The award is subject to the successful candidate meeting the scholarship terms and conditions. Please note that the University asserts the right to claim any intellectual property generated by research it funds.

Download the full terms and conditions.