Social Sciences


Dr Emily Hofstetter

Photo of Dr Emily Hofstetter

I am a conversation analyst, fascinated by the details and patterns in how humans communicate. I am interested in what conversation analysis can do as a research tool – how it can inform us about human universals in talk and socialization.

My research has particularly examined ‘institutional’ settings – places of work and service, where there are additional frameworks for interpreting communication, beyond the ‘ordinary’ kind of conversations we have over tea. I am frequently using my work to create communication training for professionals, using the Conversation Analytic Role-play Method developed by Prof. Elizabeth Stokoe.

I have recently completed my PhD at Loughborough University, under the supervision of Prof. Stokoe. My previous degrees were at the University of Toronto, Canada (BSc in Biological Anthropology, MA in Anthropology). I am currently a University Teacher at Loughborough.

I also vlog about conversation analysis at the Em does CA vlog on youtube.

I am interested in all aspects of human interaction, although I am currently focusing on three projects:

First, I am working on interactions between Members of Parliament and their constituents at MP ‘surgeries’ or constituency offices. These conversations are ubiquitous, as nearly all MPs in the UK offer constituency services – however the interactions have never been studied in detail until my PhD thesis. I am developing communication training for caseworkers and MPs so they can be more effective in this branch of work.

Second, I am working with Prof. Elizabeth Stokoe on examining conversations at universities between members of staff and Health and Safety Officers. Convincing staff to follow more health and safety protocol can be challenging, even when the changes will make the staff members safer and healthier (as the name promises). We are examining examples of these conversations to see how Health and Safety Officers can better communicate the Health and Safety concepts.

Third, I am investigating how people orient to inference and label intentions in conversation. I am focusing on board game interactions, and how strategy and motivation become relevant for the players.

I am the lecturer for SSA154 (Psychology practicals, mixed methods), SSA155 (Social psychology and relationships), and SSA156 (Self and identity).

I have recently been teaching on modules for first and second year undergraduates, including modules covering:

Biological psychology, Cognitive psychology, Qualitative methodology, Conversation analysis, Social sciences practicals, Social psychology and relationships.

Recent publications and presentations

  • Hofstetter, E. (in prep). Making intention relevant: The use of labelling strategy and motivation to accomplish action in board game settings.
  • Albert, S., Stokoe, E., Albury, C., Alexander, M., Harris, T., Hofstetter, E., & Holmes, T. (in prep). The conversation rollercoaster: How Talkaoke and Chat Lab can communicate conversation analysis to the public.
  • Hofstetter, E. and Stokoe, E. (accepted) Making the political relevant: How constituents and Members of Parliament raise political topics at constituency surgeries. In Kranert, M. & Horan, G. (eds) ‘Doing politics’: Discursivity, performativity and mediation in political discourse. Amsterdam, John Benjamins.
  • Hofstetter, E. (2016). [Review of the book Talking About Troubles in Conversation by Gail Jefferson. Edited by Paul Drew, John Heritage, Gene Lerner, and Anita Pomerantz]. Journal of Sociolinguistics.
  • Hofstetter, E. and Stokoe, E. (2015). Offers of assistance in politician-constituent interaction. Discourse Studies, 17(6), 724-751.
  • Hofstetter, E. (2016, September). Intention ascription in board game interaction. Presentation at the 13th AWIA Symposium, University of Ghent, The Netherlands.
  • Hofstetter, E. (2015, October). Political talk as conversational action. Presentation at 3rd Political Discourse Data Day, Loughborough, United Kingdom.
  • Hofstetter, E. (2015, August). Discussing ‘money’ at the office of a Member of Parliament: delicacy and case-building. Presentation at the International Institute for Ethnomethodology and Conversation Analysis 2015 Conference, Kolding, Denmark.