research and writing: projects
elite discourse and class inequality
Arising from my work on global tourism (see below), this strand of my work examines the discursive production of elitism and social privilege. The primary focus of this work at the moment is on the cultural production of class inequality in the context of super-elite tourism. In 2006, I was awarded a $25,000 grant from the UW's Royalty Research Fund grant for my project "Global Mobilities: Super-Elite Travel and the Discursive Production of Luxury, Privilege and Class Inequality". In 2007/08, I was also awarded a Society of Scholars fellowship from the UW's Simpson Center for the Humanities which has enabled me to make progress on this project which I am undertaking with my colleague Professor Adam Jaworski (Cardiff University). Indicative publications in this area include:
Thurlow, C. & Jaworski, A. (2012, in press). Elite mobilities: The semiotic landscapes of luxury and privilege. Social Semiotics, 22(5). [Visual Essay]
Thurlow, C. & Jaworski, A. (2010). Silence is golden: Elitism, linguascaping and ‘anti-communication’ in luxury tourism. In A. Jaworski & C. Thurlow (eds), Semiotic Landscapes: Language, Image, Space (pp. 187-218). London: Continuum.
Jaworski, A. & Thurlow, C. (2009). Talking an elitist stance: Ideology and the discursive production of social distinction. In A. Jaffee (ed.), Perspectives on Stance (pp. 195–226). New York: Oxford University Press.
Thurlow, C. & Jaworski, A. (2006). The alchemy of the upwardly mobile: Symbolic capital and the stylization of elites in frequent-flyer programmes. Discourse & Society, 17(1), 131-167.
tourism discourse and global mobility
Since 2001, I have been working with a team of colleagues at Cardiff University on a $2-million research program on Language and Global Communication. Within this broader program, my work has focused specifically on a project Language, Communication and Tourism as a Global Cultural Industry. This long-term research project is now culminating in two book-length monographs.
Jaworski, A. and Thurlow, C. (in prep.). Making Contact: Language Play and Multilingual Display in Tourism. London: Routledge.
Thurlow, C. & Jaworski, A. (2010). Tourism Discourse: Language and Global Mobility. London: Palgrave Macmillan.
Jaworski, A. & Thurlow, C. (2010). Language and the imagined communities of tourism: A sociolinguistics of fleeting relationships. In N. Coupland (ed.), The Handbook of Language and Globalization (pp. 256-286). Oxford: Blackwell
Related to this work is a broader concern to explore the ways language and communication are currently being 'reworked' in the context of so called globalization. I am increasingly interested in examining how visual discourse in particular is being globalized, as in these forthcoming publications completed with my graduate colleague Giorgia Aiello here at the University of Washington:
Thurlow, C. & Aiello, G. (2007). National pride, global capital: A social semiotic analysis of transnational visual branding in the airline industry. Visual Communication, 6(3), 305-344.
Aiello, G. & Thurlow, C. (2006). Symbolic capitals: Visual discourse and intercutural exchange in the European Capital of Culture scheme. Language and Intercultural Communication, 6(2), 148-162.
new media discourse and young people
My other main area of my research activity addresses language in the new media. This work begins with an interest in unraveling linguistic patterns and interactional ‘rules’ in, for example, text-messaging. With this in mind, I am equally interested in tracking the kinds of language ideologies (or ‘folk linguistic’ debates) by which young people’s new media language comes to be understood – or rather misunderstood. Two key publications in this area are my new volume with the OUP and a special issue of the JCMC.
Thurlow, C. & Mroczek, K. (eds). (2011). Digital Discourse: Language in the New Media. Oxford & New York: Oxford University Press.
Thurlow, C. (ed.). (2009). Young People, Mediated Discourse and Communication Technologies. Special issue of the Journal of Computer Mediated Communication, 14(4).
Thurlow, C. (2007). Fabricating youth: New-media discourse and the technologization of young people. In Sally Johnson & Astrid Ensslin (eds), Language in the Media: Representations, Identities, Ideologies (pp. 213-233). London: Continuum.
Thurlow, C. (2006). From statistical panic to moral panic: The metadiscursive construction and popular exaggeration of new media language in the print media. Journal of Computer Mediated Communication, 11(3). Available online.
This broad interest in new media language arises from a long-standing concern to challenge adult discourse about young people and especially their supposed communication ineptitude or ignorance. While spending some of my time questioning the way adults view young people as communicators, I have also been interested in the way young people see themselves as communicators - what I have called their 'communication awareness'. Arising from a project funded by the UK's Nuffield Foundation, an example of this work is:
Thurlow, C. & Marwick, A. (2005). Apprehension versus awareness: Toward more critical understandings of young people’s communication experiences. In Williams, A. & Thurlow, C. (eds), Talking adolescence: Perspectives on communication in the teenage years (pp. 53-72). New York: Peter Lang.