Wednesday, September 4, 2013

Users in uses of language

A paper looking at bonding and identity (which came out of a project on Youth Justice Conferencing that I worked on at the University of Sydney before moving to UNSW) is now in print:

Martin, J.R., Zappavigna, M. & Dwyer, P. (2013). Users in uses of language: embodied identity in Youth justice Conferencing. (J R Martin, M Zappavigna & P Dwyer) Text & Talk. 33, 467-496.[reprinted in Forensic Linguistics 2012. 258-288]

This paper offers a multimodal perspective on how identities are performed and negotiated in discourse, concentrating on the interaction of language and body language within a particular genre, Youth Justice Conferencing. These conferences operate as a diversionary form of sentencing in the juvenile justice system of New South Wales, Australia. Typically, they involve a young person who has committed an offense coming face to face with the victim of their crime, in the presence of family members, community workers, police, and a conference “convenor.” We conduct close, multimodal discourse analysis of the interactions that occur during the Rejoinder step in a particular conference, and investigate an “angry boy” identity enacted by two young persons at this point in the proceedings. This persona is very different to the forthcoming and remorseful persona idealized by conference designers. The role of body language in intermodally proposing and negotiating bonds within the conference is explored.


  1. Dear Michele,

    I am about to begin my linguistics journey in 2015. I am wondering why you chose to change from USYD to UNSW? I am trying to clutch at straws trying to make meaningful discriminations... and it's quite impossible by simply looking at their websites. Both USYD and UNSW have terrible websites, especially for Linguistics.

    Since you are in the field and have tried both universities, could you honestly recommend on over the other for undergraduates? My major interests are Linguistics (semantics, phonetics, cognition, etc) and Asian languages and culture, if that helps.

    Thanks :)