Marco is a lecturer in the School of Social Sciences and Humanities, and his expertise lies in the fields of communication and social interaction.

In his research, he explores how people engage in delicate activities in face-to-face interaction and how they manage difficult episodes of communication. He has studied how people complain about mistreatments, how they challenge other people’s perspectives, and how they share sensitive personal information. His research contributes to fundamental understandings of how humans communicate, and it also has practical implications for improving communication in health and social care services. 

He obtained my PhD in Education at the University of Verona with a dissertation on communication between staff and clients within Therapeutic Communities – rehabilitation programmes for people with mental health issues and/or substance misuse problems. Marco has carried out post-doctoral research at the University of Verona and at the University of Nottingham in two main areas: dyslexia and communication in end-of-life care.

In his research, he uses conversation analysis to explore how people interact in a variety of settings: support groups, medical consultations, and every day informal interactions. He studies how people talk about sensitive matters such as violations of social norms and expectations, and delicate topics such as someone’s thoughts and feelings associated with the prospect of dying. How do people negotiate what is a delicate matter in social interaction? What do they accomplish by constructing an event as atypical or out of the ordinary (or vice versa as ordinary and normal)? What does this tell us about how people shape their social worlds in everyday interaction? These are the sorts of questions Marco addresses in his research. Some of his current lines of work are: conflicts within support groups and within family interactions; the interactional uses of personal experiences in support groups; facilitators’ practices in leading bereavement support groups; patients’ ‘cues’ about end-of-life concerns in hospice care; and diagnostic questions within oncology consultations.

His research contributes to understandings of social interaction, but it also has practical implications. He collaborates with colleagues within the VERDIS research group to develop training resources for communication in palliative and end-of-life care (Real Talk).

In the 2019-2020 academic year Marco has taught the following modules:

(1) Undergraduate teaching: Module in “Social Psychology and Communication” (programmes in Social Psychology, Psychology, and Sport and Exercise Psychology).

This module introduces students to fundamental aspects of human communication. It addresses a number of related questions: What is communication? Are humans the only forms of life that communicate? Or do other forms of life communicate as well? In that case, do they communicate in the same fundamental ways as humans do? Or do humans have distinctive ways of communicating that other species do not have? And if that is the case, what are the fundamental principles or practices that make human communication possible?  

(2) Postgraduate teaching: This year, Marco is teaching the module “Key Debates in Strategic Communication” within the MA programme in Strategic Communication. The module covers key problems and debates in various areas of strategic communication, including advertising, branding, crisis communication, propaganda, public relations, and cultural diplomacy.

He is also teaching a number of sessions within two team-taught modules in “Researching Communications” (MA programmes in Global Media and Cultural Industries, Media and Cultural Analysis, Digital Media and Society, and Global Political Communication). Specifically, Marco is teaching sessions focusing on Online Ethnography, NVivo, and Conversation Analysis.



Current postgraduate research students

  • Dave Evans: "A qualitative study exploring managerial and donor perspectives of charitable impact, efficacy, and the effective altruism movement". Co-supervised with Dave Elder-Vass
  • Miao Tian: “Overcoming identity crisis? China's migrant workers' self-presentation and mobilization on social media”. Co-supervised with Sabina Mihelj

Availability for PhD supervision:

Marco is available to supervise PhD student projects investigating aspects of social interaction, using the methodology of conversation analysis. If you would like to discuss a research proposal, you can conact him at: