Stephen Pihlaja 
/'stiːvən 'pihlaija/

Hi there, my name is Stephen (email) and I'm an author and academic. I work as a Senior Lecturer in English at Aston University in Birmingham (UK). My work focuses on the dynamics of discourse, or language in use, particularly as it relates to religious identity. 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.

I have recently completed work on an AHRC Leadership Fellowship for my project called Language and Religion in the Superdiverse City, looking at how people of different faiths interact with one another and work towards shared community goals. I am partnering with Citizens UK Birmingham to apply my research to build organising capacity in South Birmingham. 

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. My newest book, Talk about Faith, focuses on the public discussion of religious faith on social media, podcasts, and in debates about religion. I've co-authored a book called Cognitive Linguistics and Religious Language: an Introduction, with colleagues in Japan which provides a primer for working on religious language from a cognitive perspective.

I've also edited Analysing Religious Discourse (2021, CUP), and special issues of Language and Literature and Metaphor and the Social World and co-edited the Routledge Handbook of English Language StudiesMy edited collection Contemporary Media Stylistics with Helen Ringrow came out in 2020 with Bloomsbury. I am Book Reviews Editor for the Journal of Language and Discrimination