Personal profile

Contact Details

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Twitter: @leighharro92

Research Interests

My research conceptualises language-use as a form of social action and analyses empirical linguistic practices to understand their place in wider societal issues and perspectives, such as poverty and neoliberalism, power, and social justice.

My research interests therefore span a range of professional and institutional contexts, including call centres, legal processes and policies, and healthcare frameworks, as well as public-facing discourse. I am particularly interested in professional-lay contexts, such as debt collection interactions, especially where lay-participants may be classed as vulnerable, powerless, or disadvantaged, or who may be positioned as such by the language use of others.

I work with both spoken and written discourse, employing theories and analytical tools from socio-pragmatics, move analysis, narrative analysis, grounded theory, and corpus-assisted critical discourse analysis. 

Key research projects

Building on my PhD which analysed telephone-mediated debt collection encounters, focussing on facework and (im)politeness, I am currently researching authentic written debt collection texts. I also work on the Centre for Language and Law's current project on the use of psychologists' reports as expert evidence in child removal cases.  

Funding Applications and Awards

Principal Investigator, A socio-legal analysis of pre- and since-COVID perceptions of food poverty. Aston Institute for Forensic Linguistics Seedcorn Project Funding (£6,000).

Teaching Activity

Postgraduate Modules

Practical Applications in Forensic Linguistics 

Dissertation Supervisor, MA in Forensic Linguistics 

Expertise related to UN Sustainable Development Goals

In 2015, UN member states agreed to 17 global Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) to end poverty, protect the planet and ensure prosperity for all. This person’s work contributes towards the following SDG(s):

  • SDG 16 - Peace, Justice and Strong Institutions

Education/Academic qualification

PhD, Applied Linguistics, University of Nottingham

Award Date: 18 Oct 2019


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Collaborations and top research areas from the last five years

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