Dr Joe Bennett



Department of English Literature


Contact details

52 Pritchatts Road
University of Birmingham
B15 2TT


I teach on a variety of courses in English Language and Applied Linguistics, and research relations between language (and other forms of communication), politics and social contexts.

If you are interested in my research, or take part in one of the courses that I teach, you might find interesting resources at my blog: politicsandpoesie.tumblr.com. 


I have a degree in Linguistics from the University of Edinburgh, and an MA in Critical Discourse, Culture and Communication from the University of Birmingham, where I also completed my PhDin English Language in 2011 - a study of the use of the word 'chav' in public discourse.


Before joining the English Language department at the University of Birmingham, I taught English Language and Linguistics in the Department of English and School of Education at the University of Birmingham, as well as at Aston University and the Universities of Wolverhampton and York.


I teach on English Language and Applied Linguistics undergraduate and MA campus programmes, and convene the distance MA Modules Written Discourse and Classroom and Multimodal Communication.

Postgraduate supervision

I am keen to supervise postgraduate research in the areas of Critical Discourse Analysis, Sociolinguistics, and Multimodal Communication.

Current PhD students are looking at discourses of psychiatry and at the language used to talk about God in the Radio 4 programme 'Thought for the Day'.


My current research focuses on discourses of morality in political discourse, with a particular focus on British politics since the North Atlantic financial crisis of 2008. I am currently preparing a monograph on this topic.

More generally, my research concerns the ways in which language and other semiotic resources such as images, sounds and bodily communication can be related to their social and political contexts, with a particular focus on contemporary Britain and on issues of class.

Other activities

I am the English Language Studies’ Welfare and Mitigations contact for both campus and distance students.


In preparation. Justice, courage and responsibility: post-crisis moral evaluations of capitalism in British political discourse.

2013. Moralising class: a discourse analysis of the mainstream political response to Occupy and the August 2011 British riots. Discourse & Society 24(1): 27-45

2012. Chav-spotting in Britain: the representation of social class as private choice. Social Semiotics 23(1): 146-162.

2012. ‘And what comes out may be a kind of screeching’: the stylisation of chavspeak in contemporary Britain. Journal of Sociolinguistics 16(1): 5-27.

2007. The discursive construction of British identity in six daily newspapers. Edinburgh Working Papers in Applied Linguistics, 15.

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