Stephen Pihlaja 
/'stiːvən 'pihlaija/

Hi there, my name is Stephen and I'm an author and academic researching and teaching at Newman University in Birmingham (UK). My first book, Antagonism on YouTube was published by Bloomsbury in 2014 and my second book, Religious Talk Online was published in 2018 with Cambridge University Press and my new book, Talk about Faith, will be released early in 2021. I've also edited special issues of Language and Literature and Metaphor and the Social World and co-edited the Routledge Handbook of English Language Studies. I also am Book Reviews Editor for the Journal of Language and Discrimination. My new edited collection Contemporary Media Stylistics with Helen Ringrow came out in Spring 2020 with Bloomsbury. 

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, and antagonism in interaction.

Nurturing Healthy Diversity in Church Schools

27 August 2020

The booklet I co-authored with colleagues from Newman about diversity in Church of England primary schools in Birmingham has been published with Grove Books this month. Have look and order your copy here!

eD 44 Nurturing Healthy Diversity in  Church Schools

Talk about Faith

20 June 2020

My new book, Talk about Faith is available for pre-order now on CUP

Book description

How do people of faith use language to position themselves, and their beliefs and practices, in the contemporary world? This pioneering and original study looks closely at how Christians and Muslims talk to people inside and outside of their own communities about what they think are the right things to believe and do. From debates, to podcasts and YouTube videos, the book covers a range of engaging texts and contexts, showing how doctrine and beliefs are not nearly as fixed and static as we might think, and that people are prone to change what they say they believe, depending on who they are talking to. From abortion, to hell, to whether it's okay to sell alcohol, Pihlaja investigates how Christians and Muslims struggle with different elements of their own faith, and try to make decisions about what to do when there are so many different voices to believe.


28 May 2020

CUP is going to be publishing my book in paperback this autumn, so if you've been waiting off buying it because it's ridiculously expensive, it will now only be £22. See the Amazon link!

SSSR Award Nomination

1 May 2020

My second book, Religious Talk Online has been nominated for the Society for the Scientific Study of Religion's distinguished book award. Many thanks to my publisher for putting me forward!