Dr Jane Mulderrig
School of English
Senior Lecturer in Applied Linguistics, Director of International Affairs
+44 114 222 8497
Full contact details
School of English
1 Upper Hanover Street
I’m a senior lecturer in Applied Linguistics and Director of International Affairs for the Faculty of Arts and Humanities.
I joined the department in 2010 after holding postdoctoral positions at the Universities of Lancaster (ESRC postdoctoral fellowship) and Edinburgh, following a PhD at Lancaster University (ESRC doctoral studentship) under the supervision of Profs Norman Fairclough and Ruth Wodak.
- Research interests
My main research interest is in using critical discourse analysis in combination with political theory to investigate questions of identity, power, and representation in public life. In particular, I am interested in the strategic role of (national) policy discourse in recontextualising, disseminating and legitimating dominant political ideologies in advanced liberal economies. I have used my interdisciplinary approach to investigate the historic neoliberalisation of UK education policy; governments’ increasing use of ‘nudge’ tactics to steer citizens towards self-reliance; and discourses which construct a ‘social burden’ view of ageing.
Research project 1 (2001-) Language and ideology in education policy
My doctoral research developed a method of combining critical discourse analysis with corpus linguistic tools to analyse a 35-year corpus of education policy documents. Language patterns were critically interpreted in relation to the emergence of neoliberalism, using cultural political economy (Jessop). I investigated how policy discourse is used to construct and legitimate neoliberal identities, roles and power relations between citizen and state. My publications posit the role of nested grammatical structures in construing a ‘networked’ or ‘enabling’ model of governance and the role of personal pronouns as a hegemonic strategy in policy. I continue to draw on this method, for example to investigate the increasing use of metrics to evaluate quality in higher education. External funding: ESRC PhD scholarship (£34,000 + fees); ESRC postdoctoral fellowship (£58,000)
Research project 2 (2010-) What is old? Language, society, and ageing
This project examines the linguistic processes whereby population ageing is problematized in public life and their influence on how individuals construct their own ageing identities. A corpus analysis found that the concept of ‘ageing’ is represented as a phenomenon which is to be feared, a burden on society, and an economic challenge for nation states. These ideas were then explored in an intergenerational project ‘What is Old?’ with school pupils and residents of sheltered housing schemes in Sheffield. Arts and crafts were used as a medium through which to challenge ‘official’ constructions of old age. Funding: Arts Enterprise grant (£3000).
Research project 3 (2014-) ‘Nudge’ and the language of soft power
Neoliberal governments are making increasing use of ‘nudge’ tactics in public life, designed to subtly steer citizens towards taking greater responsibility for their own wellbeing. This project is the first investigation of how this governance tactic is realised in language. My publications explore its realisation in health policy and bring multimodal critical discourse analysis into dialogue with Foucauldian theories of governmentality.
Research project 4 (2018-) Defining Freedom of the Press
In the wake of recent scandals concerning the conduct of the UK press, this project investigates the tensions between freedom of the press and press ethics. It brings together an interdisciplinary team from journalism (Dr John Steel, Prof Martin Conboy, Sheffield; Dr Julie Firmstone, Leeds), law (Dr Paul Wragg, Leeds), philosophy (Dr Carl Fox, Leeds; Dr Joe Saunders, Durham) and linguistics (Dr Jane Mulderrig) in order to investigate how the press, its public roles and responsibilities are defined in 13 European countries. The project combines documentary analysis, interviews, focus groups and stakeholder workshops, and seeks to develop a set of recommendations and benchmarks for freedom of the press which are fit for the modern news environment. External funding: AHRC (£500,000). Defining Freedom of the Press project website.
I convene the Sheffield Critical Discourse Studies Research group bringing together scholars in CDA from across the region ('SCADS').
- The language of ‘nudge’ in health policy: pre-empting working class obesity through ‘biopedagogy’. Critical Policy Studies, 13(1), 101-121. View this article in WRRO
- View this article in WRRO Nudge and the politics of wellbeing : bringing biopower into dialogue with critical discourse analysis. Médiation et Information(44-45), 181-195.
- Multimodal strategies of emotional governance: a critical analysis of ‘nudge’ tactics in health policy. Critical Discourse Studies, 15(1), 39-67. View this article in WRRO
- Reframing obesity: a critical discourse analysis of the UK’s first social marketing campaign. Critical Policy Studies, 11(4), 455-476. View this article in WRRO
- Discourse and democracy: critical analysis of the language of government by Michael Farrelly. Critical Policy Studies, 10(4), 486-488. View this article in WRRO
- The Hegemony of Inclusion: a corpus-based critical discourse analysis of deixis in education policy. Discourse and Society, 23(6), 701-728.
- The Grammar of Governance. Critical Discourse Studies, 8(1), 45-68.
- Manufacturing Consent: a corpus-based critical discourse analysis of New Labour's educational governance. Journal of Educational Philosophy and Theory, 43, 562-578.
- Consuming Education: a critical discourse analysis of social actors in New labour's education policy. Journal of Critical Education Policy Studies, 1(1).
- Health inequality and the representation of ‘risky’ working class identities in obesity policy In Gomez-Jimenez EM & Toolan M (Ed.), The Discursive Construction of Economic Inequality: CADS approaches to the British Media London: Bloomsbury Publishing.
- View this article in WRRO Introducing critical policy discourse analysis, Critical Policy Discourse Analysis (pp. 1-22).
- View this article in WRRO Analysing orders of discourse of neoliberal rule: Health 'nudges' and the rise of psychological governance, Critical Policy Discourse Analysis (pp. 48-72).
- Concluding remarks on critical policy discourse analysis, Critical Policy Discourse Analysis (pp. 264-270).
- 2.7 “Enabling” Participatory Governance in Education: A Corpus-Based Critical Analysis of Policy in the United Kingdom, International Handbook of Interpretation in Educational Research (pp. 441-470). Springer Netherlands
- Introduction, International Handbook of Interpretation in Educational Research (pp. 283-284). Springer Netherlands
- View this article in WRRO “Enabling” Participatory Governance in Education: A Corpus-Based Critical Analysis of Policy in the United Kingdom In Smeyers P, Bridges D, Burbules N & Griffiths M (Ed.), International Handbook of Interpretation in Educational Research (pp. 441-470). London: Springer.
- Manufacturing Consent: A Corpus-Based Critical Discourse Analysis of New Labour's Educational Governance In Cole D & Graham L (Ed.), The Power In/Of Language (pp. 13-28). John Wiley & Sons, Ltd
- Critical Discourse Analysis In Dijk TAV (Ed.), Discourse Studies: a multidisciplinary introduction (pp. 357-378). London: SAGE Publications Limited.
- Using Keywords Analysis in CDA: evolving discourses of the knowledge economy in education In Jessop B, Fairclough N & Wodak R (Ed.), Education and the Knowledge-Based Economy in Europe (pp. 149-170). Sense Publishers
- Textual Strategies of Representation and Legitimation in New Labour Policy Discourse In Green A, Rikowski G & Raduntz H (Ed.), Renewing Dialogues in Marxism and Education (pp. 135-150). Palgrave MacMillan
- Learning to Labour: the discursive construction of social actors in New Labour's education policy In Tönnies M (Ed.), Britain under Blair (pp. 123-145). Heidelberg: Winter Verlag.
Conference proceedings papers
- Defining freedom of the press: A cross national examination of press ethics and regulation. Defining freedom of the press: A cross national examination of press ethics and regulation. University of Nottingham, 8 November 2018 - 9 November 2018.
- View this article in WRRO DFoP: Scope and parameters of the project. Defining freedom of the press: A cross national examination of press ethics and regulation.
- Defining freedom of the press in the 21st century: Interdisciplinary approaches and comparative perspectives.
- Stakeholder workshops as a method for developing a grounded media ethics. University of Brighton.
- Defining freedom of the press: A cross national examination of press ethics and regulation.
- Human dignity beyond boundaries: Revisiting global journalism ethics.
- Journalists' perceptions of press freedom in practice: Perspectives from the front-line.
- Journalism and codes of ethics.
- Defining 'freedom of the press': A cross-national analysis of press council codes of ethics.
- Research group
I currently supervise in the area of critical discourse analysis applied to the investigation of political campaigns, public policy, and politics. I welcome PhD applicants who wish to undertake critical, interdisciplinary research on questions of language, ideology and identity in public life.
My students (past and current):
- Lucie Rees (WRoCAH scholarship): Critical discourse analysis of anti-stigma campaigns in UK mental health policy
- Nouf Alotaibi: A Critical discourse analysis of the Saudi women's campaign against the male-guardianship system on social media
- Rosa Escanes-Sierra (ESRC scholarship): Discourses of morality in UK parliamentary discourses of the economic crisis: a corpus-aided critical discourse analysis
- Dr Bridie Moore (now lecturer at Huddersfield University): The performance of age and ageing in contemporary British theatre (second supervisor)
- Teaching activities
At undergraduate level, I teach 'Discourse Analysis' and 'Corpus Linguistics'. On the MA in Applied Linguistics, I teach 'English Grammar and Discourse', 'Discourse and Genre Analysis', 'Corpus Linguistics', 'Intercultural Communication', and 'Research Methods'.