Lunchtime Talks Autumn/Winter 2023 programme

(All talks on Wednesdays via Microsoft Teams)

Wednesday 25 October, 2-3pm: Ibi Reichl

Finding (pragmatic) meaning in qualitative data: combining emic and etic perspectives

Abstract: How can we identify a given stretch of talk or writing as accomplishing a specific verbal action, such as ‘complaining’ or ‘disagreeing’? How can we pinpoint interpersonal attitudes and evaluations such as ‘rude’ or ‘insulting’? And how can we be certain that our analyses capture the participants’ understandings instead of imposing our own subjective interpretations? The Linguistic sub-field of Pragmatics, concerned with the study of meaning beyond what is literally said, can address such issues, and can recognise that pragmatic meaning is – by its very nature – elusive. This poses potential problems and pitfalls for analysts who want to study pragmatic phenomena in naturally-occurring interactions.

The question of identifying whose understandings are attended to in our analyses relates to wider issues within qualitative research, such as validity, reliability, and researcher bias. While I will use the example of pragmatic analysis to address these issues, this talk is also relevant to researchers employing many qualitative methods such as content analysis, thematic analysis, (critical) discourse analysis, and grounded theory. In this talk, I will:

•    address and critique the differences between top-down and bottom-up approaches;
•    dissect the notion of ‘emic’ (i.e. participants’) perspectives, addressing the crucial difference between participant practice (what they do) and participant evaluations (what they think/say people do);
•    illustrate how we can arrive at robust analyses and ‘etic’ (i.e. theoretical) concepts grounded in emic practices and evaluations. For this purpose, I will use the example of ‘offense-taking’ in twitter interactions.


Lunchtime Talks Spring 2023 programme

26 April 2023, 2-3pm: Hazel Marsh, Associate Professor in Latin American Studies, PPL

The ethical challenges of working with conflict-displaced people in Colombia: reflections on an arts-based approach

In Colombia, five decades of violent conflict have displaced millions of people, many of whom now face severe risks from flooding, landslides and other environmental hazards in the places they have found to resettle. In our research, we used innovative arts-based methods to engage ‘at-risk’ communities, and policymakers, with disaster risk reduction. In this seminar I will explore the ethical challenges of working with conflict-displaced people, and reflect on how community-based creative arts methodologies can create spaces for people to tell their stories with dignity and agency.  


17 May 2023, 2-3pm: Kate Stewart, Associate Professor in Sociology, SWK

#MeatToo: The re-scripting of patriarchal power in the representation of veganism and gender in cookery books

There is a long history of feminist scholarship and activism linking patriarchal oppression and the use of nonhuman animals. This research analysed how the design and presentation of vegan cookery books reinforce and reproduce sexist imagery. Encouraging the uptake of vegan practices by rendering veganism appropriately masculine for the mainstream threatens veganism’s transformative capacity with regard to multiple intersecting oppressions. Critical Animal Studies scholars seek to reassess scholarship practices and methodologies, based on the premise that social transformation needs distinctive research methods (Griffin 2014). The use of creative, visual qualitative methods is a key strand of this and has been a key feature of much of my work in this area, and I will share some of the methodological issues that inform and are raised by this work.


Please contact Shanice Thomas ( to get access to the Microsoft Teams links for these sessions.

If you would like to propose a topic for a talk or workshop, please contact Chi-Hé Elder ( or Fiona Poland (