Researcher Development Initiative (RDI), 2005 - 2010

Sociolinguistic Ethnography in a Changing Society

01/01/07 - 31/03/10


Language and communication are central to social science, and rigour and validity are heavily influenced by how research addresses them. To help researchers avoid the perils of both under and over interpretation, this programme provides training in linguistic ethnography, a synthesis of interactional sociolinguistics, new literacy studies, conversation analysis, multimodal semiotics and linguistic anthropology, which holds that:

  • the contexts for communication should be investigated, not just assumed. Meaning takes shape among agents with different repertoires and expectations, in specific social relations, interactional histories and institutional regimes, and these need to be grasped ethnographically. At the same time,
  • biography, identifications, stance and nuance are extensively signalled in the textual fine-grain, so analysis of the internal organisation of verbal data reveals much of their position and significance in the world.

Between 2007-2010, the Programme organised 20-25 events (see, and it is now continuing with an annual 5-day summer school, an annual interdisciplinary conference (‘Explorations in Ethnography Language & Communication’), and short courses and data-workshops by arrangement.


Principal Investigator: Professor Ben Rampton, King’s College London
Co-Investigators: Professor Jan Blommaert, Tilburg University,

Dr Adam Lefstein, Institute of Education,
Dr Jeff Bezemer, Imperial College London,

Professor Carey Jewitt, Institute of Education,

Professor Celia Roberts, King’s College London

Contact Details

Professor Ben Rampton, King’s College London

Miss Sarah Moore
Email: or
Tel: 020 7848 3189