HSS Research Seminar: Gemma Harvey on Language and Conflict in North Cambridgeshire

Events — Talk Helmore 109 & Microsoft Teams
8 March 2023, 13:00

The Fenland District, a region of North Cambridgeshire ‘left behind’ due to a lack of socioeconomic development, currently struggles to build cohesive communities with its people. This struggle has only been further aggravated by a polarising Brexit vote that positioned many people in the district against their local migrant residents, the COVID-19 pandemic, and the current cost of living crisis (Deakin 2019; Fenland District Council 2022). These fraught community relationships have resulted in a perceived increase of conflict and hostility in the district and have impacted how residents initiate, manage, and resolve conflict. With a focus on everyday interpersonal conflicts that occur in Fenland workplaces, this discursive-ethnographic study aims to identify the conflict negotiation strategies (Ting-Toomey 2017) people use to navigate conflict whilst exploring how the ‘politeness evaluation process’ (Spencer-Oatey and Kádár 2021) of perceiving impoliteness (Culpeper 2011), recognising and taking offense (O’Driscoll 2020), emotional reactions (Martin and White 2005; Bednarek 2008), and moral judgements (Graham et al. 2013) motivates and justifies conflictual language and behaviour.

Gemma Harvey holds an ARU VC PhD Studentship in the Faculty of Humanities and Social Sciences. Her thesis entitled ‘Language and Conflict in North Cambridgeshire’ is a sociopragmatic study of how people in the Fenland District use language to initiate, manage, and resolve interpersonal conflict in the workplace. Her research interests include pragmatic theory, the language of conflict, and multimodal evaluative communication. Her supervisors are Vahid Parvaresh, Samantha Lundrigan, and Anna Markovska.

Tea, coffee and soft drinks will be provided, but please bring your own lunch and a mug if you would like a warm drink.

Migrant workers picking broccoli in fenland
Migrant workers picking broccoli in fenland

Event contact: Jeannette Baxter and Melanie Bell: HSSresearch@aru.ac.uk