Stephen Pihlaja
/'stiːvən 'pihlaija/

Hi there, my name is Stephen and I'm an applied linguist, discourse analyst, and stylistician researching and teaching at Newman University in Birmingham (UK). I teach a suite of classes in the English subject group, focusing on the use of linguistic tools to study literature, language, and culture. My first book, Antagonism on YouTube was published by Bloomsbury in 2014 and my second book, Religious Talk Online was published this year on Cambridge University Press. I've also recently edited special issues of Language and Literature, Metaphor and the Social World and am an editor for the forthcoming Routledge Handbook of English Language Studies

My own research focuses on the dynamics of discourse, or language in use, particularly in online interaction around religious issues. I analyse discourse to understand how people present themselves and their beliefs to diverse audiences, and how technology changes not just the presentation of belief, but how and what people believe. To do this, I employ different methods of discourse analysis to investigate metaphor, narrative positioning, categories, and impoliteness in interaction.

I am a Senior Fellow of the Higher Education Academy and most recently worked as a Primary Investigator on a Social Innovation Project funded by the Higher Education Funding Council called 'Let's Talk about Sex: equipping student leaders to address sexual violence on campuses'. 

I review articles for a variety of different publications, and serve as membership secretary for the Poetics and Linguistics Association (PALA) and the secretary for the University Council of General and Applied Linguistics (UCGAL). I am a regular member of the Researching and Applying Metaphor Association (RaAM) and the British Association of Applied Linguistics (BAAL).

Book published

23 February 2018

The hardcover, physical version of my book out in the world now! Order it here!


Concurrences Visiting Fellowship

8 February 2018

Really happy to announce that I will be a Visiting Research Fellow at the Linnaeus University Centre for Concurrences in Colonial and Postcolonial Studies this year. We'll be working together to plan some larger research networks and deal with issues related to inter-religious dialogue and citizenship. Very excited to see this come together!

Religious Talk Online now available

5 February 2018

Looks like the eBook of Religious Talk Online now available, at least on Google Books and Google Play. Check out the free preview!

Cover and Pre-Order

15 January 2018

Routledge has put our Handbook for English Language Studies up for pre-order now. Make sure your library gets it!