UK Linguistic Ethnography Forum


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The principal activity of the UK Linguistic Ethnography Forum has been to set up a series of regular meetings, small one-day or two-day seminars themed around particular issues, and colloquia at the BAAL Annual Meetings in the autumn.

Forthcoming Events

There will be a Linguistic Ethnography strand of papers at the BAAL Annual Meeting 2006 in Cork, 7-9 September. 

Previous Events

Colloquium at Sociolinguistics Symposium 16 (July 2006): Ethnographic challenges and opportunities in language research. 

Methodological Issues in Linguistic Ethnography, The Open University, 4th March 2006

Bakhtin, Language and Discourse, King's College, London, 13 September 2005

Colloquium, 'Linguistic Ethnography and the Social Sciences', BAAL 2005 conference, Bristol, 15 September 2005.

One Day Seminar, University of Bristol, 18 June 2005

One day seminar Spring 2005, University of Birmingham: 'Ethnography in multilingual urban contexts'

BAAL 2004 Colloquium, London: 'Time, the Global and the Local in Linguistic Ethnography'

Spring seminar 2004, King's College London: Linguistic and Post-Structuralist Feminist Ethnographies

BAAL Leeds 2003: Linguistic Ethnography at the Interface with Education

Edge Hill 2003: Translation, Interpretation and Representation: Issues for Linguistic Ethnography

BAAL Cardiff 2002: SIG colloquium.  Included accounts of recent and ongoing research, reflections on reflexivity and fieldwork, and theoretical dialogue with Bernstein's work.

Gregynog 2002: UKLEF second research seminar.  Themes covered included ethnography in multilingual settings, genre, and individual and team research. 

BAAL Reading 2001: Rethinking the Ethnography of Communication

Leicester 2001: Linguistic Ethnography in the UK (BAAL/CUP funded seminar)

Colloquium at Sociolinguistics Symposium 16 (July 2006): Ethnographic challenges and opportunities in language research. 


· Alexandra Georgakopoulou (King's College London): In search of context in language research: The ethnographic advantage
· Theresa Lillis (Open University): Researching academic literacy as a social practice: Developing a text-oriented ethnography (Powerpoint format with photos removed to reduce file size)
· Francesca Bargiela (Nottingham Trent University): Liminal (linguistic) ethnography in the attempt to study segregated organisations (.pdf format)
· Frances Rock (Cardiff University): Ethnography and forensic linguistics
· Celia Roberts (King's College London): Dealing with large audio/video data sets ethnographically: Beyond pick'n'mix?

Methodological issues in Linguistic Ethnography, Saturday 4th March, 2006. The Open University, Milton Keynes. 

This seminar was a forum for active researchers in Linguistic Ethnography. Methodological questions raised by presenters included how to combine textual and textual analysis,issues of translation and researcher identity, how to capture emergent aspects of narrative in analysis,the relationship between ethnographic methods and analytical claims.  We organised the programme to encourage various threads of dialogue to develop during the day.

Organiser: Janet Maybin, The Open University 

Full seminar report

Papers presented and discussed:

Keith Richards: Love, hate and indifference: The impact of talk about relationships on the interpretation of talk in relationships
Abstract            Paper (Rich text format)

Moira Inghilleri: Macro social theory and linguistic ethnography: a bridge (too far)?
Abstract            Paper (Rich text format)

Khadeegha Albouezi and Kate Pahl: Dilemmas of translation and identity: ethnographic research in multilingual homes
Abstract            Albouezi paper
(Rich text format)        Pahl paper (Rich text format)

Ellen van Praet: Writing a linguistic ethnography: a different kind of journey
Abstract            Paper (Acrobat .pdf format)

Alexandra Georgakopoulou and Mike Baynham: "Big" stories and "small" stories: reflections on methodological / theoretical issues in narrative research
Abstract            Paper (Powerpoint format)

                        Notes of Mike Baynham's contribution (Word format)

Alexandra Jaffe: Standards of evidence, ethnographic methods and analysis
Abstract            Paper
(Rich text format)

Bakhtin, Language & Discourse

Tuesday, 13 September 2005, 11.00 to 4.30pm

King’s College London
Waterloo SE1

A one-day seminar exploring the significance of Mikhail Bakhtin’s work for research on language, discourse and ethnography, jointly organised by KCL Discourse & Social Interaction Network ( and the UK Linguistic Ethnography Forum (

Written versions of the papers in .rtf format can be downloaded by clicking on the hyperlinks below.

* Professor Lukas Tsitsipis (University of Thessaloniki): “Journeying with Bakhtin on the path of linguistic anthropology”

* Dr Janet Maybin (Open University): "'Speech genres' and 'evaluation' in socialisation and identity: Older children's language practices"

* Dr Alexandra Georgakopoulou (King’s College London): Bakhtin in sociolinguistics/discourse studies: Readings and open issues

*"Bakhtin Quoted" - canonical citations from Bakhtin in sociolinguistics, prepared by Dr Alexandra Georgakopoulou. 

Organisers:  Alexandra Georgakopoulou (, Vally Lytra (, Ben Rampton (

Linguistic Ethnography and the Social Sciences

Linguistic ethnography is driven by the conviction that if you want to understand how communication intersects with social and cultural processes, you have to look for a combination of ethnography and linguistically sensitive discourse analysis.  Of itself, this view is rather unexceptional, but over the last 4 or 5 years, a number of BAAL-associated researchers have started to articulate a version of linguistic ethnography which sounds relatively distinctive in being both tuned to post-structuralism and grounded in applied linguistics.   This (arguably neo-Hymesian) position is outlined in a 2005 discussion paper drafted by the LEF Coordinating Committee (UK Linguistic Ethnography: A Discussion Paper).  This paper has now been quite widely circulated (on the LEF email list, on baalmail, and to 80-90 researchers world-wide), and in this Colloquium, leading researchers from sociology, psychology, linguistic anthropology and applied linguistics have been invited to engage with the paper and the issues it raises from their own disciplinary perspectives.

The colloquium will last 160 minutes and it will be organised as follows:

1.       Positioning linguistic ethnography in the UK: LEF Coordinating Committee 

2.       Linguistic ethnography and linguistic anthropology: A tense intellectual relationship and a socio-political trajectory.  Lukas D. Tsitsipis (Aristotle University of Thessaloniki).  

3.       An applied linguistic perspective.  Dr Alison Sealey (Aston University).

4.       A view from (discursive) psychology.  Professor Margaret Wetherell (Open University)

5.   A sociological perspective.  Professor Martyn Hammersley (Open University)  

6.   Open discussion

One Day Seminar, University of Bristol, 18 June 2005

Saturday 18 June 2005, Graduate School of Education, University of Bristol, 10.30 - 4.00

The programme comprised the following sessions:

Francesca Bargiela: Ethnographies of closed communities: Issues, challenges and provocations from visiting a monastery

David Poveda Studying children's language practices and cultures outside of school: An example with Gitano children

Barbara Majer: Researchers and Researching: Dealing with Uncertainty: Insider researching - is an identity crisis inevitable?

Cooke, Roberts, Baynham and Simpson: Ethnographic-style bilingual interviews: practical concerns and implications.

Click to download full details of abstracts and schedule.

One day seminar, 'Ethnography in multilingual urban contexts', 26th February 2005, School of Education, University of Birmingham

The Birmingham one day seminar presented on-going research from the Midlands region based partly on the ESRC funded project: Complementary Schools and their Communities in Leicester. This work was rated 'outstanding' by ESRC reviewers. In particular, the research was commended for its methodological approach to team ethnography and for its investigation of bilingualism, identity and learning in complementary schools.

The seminar discussed some of the findings from the project as well as related multilingual themes considering discourse and power in the wider socio-political context. We explored such themes as ethnographically informed discourse analysis, emic perspectives and representation in team ethnography and engagement between the researcher and researched, after the research process. We also considered the possibilities of combining linguistic ethnography and critical discourse analysis in different constructions of context. 

Adrian Blackledge The Racialisation of Language in British Political Discourse
Angela Creese: Representation in Team Ethnography
Peter Martin: Researched-Researcher Relationships: Turning the tables. 
Jean Conteh: Researching the Professional Identities of Mainstream Bilingual Primary Teachers: Methodological Issues and some Initial Data

BAAL 2004 Colloquium.

We held a colloquium at the BAAL 2004 Annual Meeting in September entitled "TIME, THE GLOBAL & THE LOCAL IN LINGUISTIC ETHNOGRAPHY".

Does the 'linguistic' in linguistic ethnography mean that LE is necessarily focused on the fine details of situated interaction and events? How do we deal with processes that are longer term and widely spread? Have we settled the relationship between local interaction and broader structures of power? How do we reckon with, for example, history, globalisation or diaspora in our analyses? What difference do they make to the way we go about our work? Do they really count in our analyses? Or should we really only treat them as a secondary interest?










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