Academic and Research
Professor Michael Billig
Professor of Social Sciences.
B.A., Ph.D. (Bristol)
Tel: +44 (0)1509 223367
Michael Billig has been at Loughborough since 1985, when he was appointed Professor of Social Sciences. Originally, Michael trained as an experimental social psychologist, under the supervision of Henri Tajfel, who was probably the most influential social psychologist in post-war Britain. Michael was involved in designing the original minimal group experiments, which formed the basis of Tajfel’s well-known Social Identity Theory. Since his Bristol days, Michael’s interests, however, have moved towards qualitative approaches and has been involved with others at Loughborough in developing new forms of social psychology which are closely linked with other social sciences and with the study of language.
He is the author of numerous books and articles, which reflect his interests in various topics such as political ideology, rhetoric, psycho-analytic theory, humour and social psychology. The British Journal of Social Psychology described his book Arguing and Thinking as a “work of rare significance”. In 1996 his Banal Nationalism received the Myers Centre Award for "outstanding work on intolerance ", and Rock’n’Roll Jews was short-listed in 2001for the Wingfield Non-Fiction Prize. In 2010 Michael received the Distinguished Contribution to Social Psychology Award from the Social Section of the British Psychological Society.
He now works part-time.
Research topics include nationalism, rhetoric, ideology, psychoanalytic theory and popular music, as well as the history of psychological ideas. Currently he is interested in the language that social scientists use. In his most recent book Learn to Write Badly, he argues that social scientists often write in unnecessarily complicated ways and that their language tends to conceal as much as it reveals.
Conceptual and Historical Issues Psychology (second year module)
Books since 2000
- Billig, M. (2001). Rock’n’Roll Jews. Nottingham: Five Leaves. http://www.fiveleaves.co.uk/jewish.html
- Billig, M. (2005). Laughter and Ridicule: towards a social critique of humour. London: Sage. http://www.uk.sagepub.com/books/Book226971
- Billig, M. (2008). The Hidden Roots of Critical Psychology: understanding the impact of Locke, Shaftesbury and Reid. London: Sage. http://www.uk.sagepub.com/books/Book231904?siteId=sage-uk&prodTypes=any&q=billig+hidden+roots+critical+psychology&fs=1
- Billig, M. (2013). Learn to Write Badly: how to succeed in the social sciences. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. http://www.cambridge.org/us/academic/subjects/psychology/social-psychology/learn-write-badly-how-succeed-social-sciences
Selected Recent Papers
- Billig, M. (2008). The language of critical discourse analysis: the case of nominalization. Discourse & Society, 19, 783-800.
- Billig, M. (2008). Social representations and repression: examining the first formulations of Freud and Moscovici. Journal for the Theory of Social Behaviour, 38, 355-368.
- Billig, M. (2011). Writing social psychology: fictional things and unpopulated texts. British Journal of Social Psychology, 50, 4-20.
- Billig, M. (2011). Rabbinic traditions of interpretation and the hermeneutic arc. Discourse Studies, 13, 569-574.
- Billig, M. (2012). Abraham Tucker as an eighteenth century William James: stream of consciousness, role of examples and the importance of writing. Theory & Psychology, 22, 114-129.
- Billig, M. (2012). Undisciplined beginnings, academic success and discursive psychology. British Journal of Social Psychology, 51, 413-424.
- Billig, M. and Marinho, C. (in press). Manipulating information and manipulating people: examples from the 2004 Portuguese parliamentary celebration of the April Revolution. Critical Discourse Studies.