Faculty of Education, Social Sciences and Law

School of Education

Language Education Seminar: ‘The development of voice through digital technology’

05 February 2014 - 05 February 2014
Hillary Place 1.24

The Language Education Research Group in the School of Education is pleased to invite you to attend this research seminar which is part of our 2013-14 seminar series.

This seminar will be delivered by Dr James Simpson (Education), Dr Richard Badger (Education) and Dr Caroline Dyer (Politics and International Studies) on ‘The development of voice through digital technology’.


In this presentation we promote the idea that the linguistic and communicative practices associated with digital communication can be encouraged to strengthen people’s capacity to aspire (Appadurai 2004) through the development of voice (Hymes 1996). People aspire to all sorts of things – for example, to enhanced educational or language learning opportunities, which might in turn lead to a greater material standard of living, social mobility, and political recognition.

Voice is not only the ability to speak but more importantly the capacity to be audible, to ‘generate an uptake of one’s words’ (Blommaert 2005: 68). In this talk we examine the potential of the use of digital technology to enable people to be audible, and the consequent promise of audibility to combat failure of aspiration.

We locate voice in terms of what people want to aspire to, and how their interactions and uses of particular linguistic and communicative resources within their networks might support these aspirations.

We illustrate our talk with reference to a new project which will document the communicative practices of marginalised people in the west-Indian state of Gujarat as they use mobile phones. The work builds on partnership activities carried out in Gujarat in 2012-13, which we also discuss.

Please note: there is no booking required, however, due to the size of the room, seating will be allocated on a first-come, first-served basis. The School apologises in advance if this causes any inconvenience.

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