Thursday 9 November 2023 – ‘This Halifax Road, carafes of wine, and complex noun phrases: A mixed (white plastic carrier) bag of stylistic patterns in witness statement’ – Research Seminar
This Halifax Road, carafes of wine, and complex noun phrases: A mixed (white plastic carrier) bag of stylistic patterns in witness statement
Thursday 9 November 2023, 17:30-18:30
Hosted by the Stylistics Research Group at Sheffield Hallam University and featuring Patricia Canning (Assistant Professor in Humanities at Northumbria University).
This talk uses stylistic analysis to examine police-authored witness statements following the Hillsborough Football Stadium Disaster (1989) in which ninety-seven Liverpool fans were killed in a crush at the ground. The analysis raises questions about attitudinal and institutional biases in South Yorkshire Police (SYP) officers’ statements which point to institutional collusion. This manifests in two ways. Firstly, through the selective reporting of events in the evidence-gathering process during their investigations after the disaster. Secondly, through marked idiolectal patterns across nine officers’ witness statements. The talk concludes by advocating for the utility of stylistics as a nuanced and practical methodological approach to forensic text analysis.
Patricia Canning is Assistant Professor in Humanities at Northumbria University and an applied linguist specialising in forensic texts and contexts. Her work includes the investigation and analysis of police reporting, particularly the attribution and deflection of blame through individual and institutional language choices.
This event will now be taking place online only via Zoom (it had previously been advertised as a hybrid event). The Zoom link will be sent to registered attendees via Eventbrite email. If you wish to attend, please register via Eventbrite. If tickets have run out please join the waitlist and you will be contacted for details of how to attend.