Pictured is the DARG logo, it is made up of a collection of words, in the colours pink, purple and blue, that relate to the group.

Discourse and Rhetoric Group celebrates 30th anniversary with special video

A world-leading University group that researches language and social interaction in society is celebrating its 30th anniversary and, to mark the occasion, a special tribute video has been made.

The short film, titled ‘Happy 30th Anniversary DARG!’, was premiered on Monday (18 December) at the Discourse and Rhetoric Group’s 11th annual Conversation Analysis Day.

The group, which often goes by its four-letter acronym, is celebrating three decades of research having formed in the Department of Social Sciences in November 1987.

Founding staff members, PhD students and others who have worked with and visited DARG have been sharing their favourite memories on social media and current and former members have expressed what the group means to them in a series of filmed interviews. The anniversary video compiles a selection of the online comments and snippets from the recorded conversations.

When DARG was formed in 1987, the primary aim of the group was to generate discussion around discourse, rhetoric, activity and conversation. Initially there were only a handful of members and they met weekly in Professor Michael Billig’s office.

Over the years, DARG has expanded greatly and today the group attracts postgraduates and visitors from around the world. It continues to host weekly data-sessions on a Wednesday – though now in B1.14 in the Brockington Building - and there are always a range of projects on the go.

Members of the group are currently investigating research issues including how clinicians and patients negotiate their way through dementia screening; how police ‘talk down’ potential suicides, and what mockery does among friends, to name but a few concepts.

DARG also hosts Conversation Analysis (CA) workshops and runs the annual CA Day and Categories and Identities Day in June. In July 2018 it will host the International Conference on Conversation Analysis at the University which has already attracted over 500 delegates.

Professor Elizabeth Stokoe and Professor Charles Antaki, of the Department of Social Sciences, have a combined DARG membership of more than 30 years. In a joint statement, they said: “The Discourse and Rhetoric Group has had a flourishing history as one of the world’s leading centres of research into language and social life.

“Over time, our analytic focus has shifted from general discourse analysis to a greater concentration on the details of spoken interaction, but the central line throughout has been the question: how do people use language to carry out the business of everyday life, at work, in the home, and in society at large?

“DARG is firmly established as a vibrant centre of scholarship with an enviable international reputation.

“Many wonderful people have contributed to DARG’s success over the years, and we are proud to continue its tradition of collegial warmth and scholarly ambition.”

To watch the anniversary video click here