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Emily Powell

Research student, Centre for Language and Communication Research, School of English, Communication and Philosophy


I am a PhD student in the Centre for Language and Communication Research at Cardiff University. Having completed my MA dissertation here and gained a distinction in my dissertation on the linguistic representation of responsibility in the manifesto of Anders Breivik, I decided to continue this research and expand it to other pre-crime narratives written by mass murders. I obtained funding from the ESRC that enabled me to do this. When I am not reading the narratives of criminals, I teach English to students and teachers from around the world.

Academic Background

PhD in Language and Communication Research, Cardiff University (2015-present)

MA Forensic Linguistics, Cardiff University (2012-2015)

PGCE (Post Compulsory Education and Training), Cardiff University (2005-2007)

BA in English Language and Literature, University of Liverpool (1995-1998)

Conferences, symposia and seminars

‘I will force myself to believe that everyone is just another monster from doom’: A corpus stylistic analysis of agency in pre-massacre narratives. Presented at: The 9th International Corpus Linguistics Conference, Birmingham, UK, 24-28 July 2017.

‘Sometimes being uncompassionate is the most compassionate thing you can do’: Negotiation of responsibility in pre-massacre narratives. Presented at: The 13th Biennal Conference of the International Association of Forensic Linguistics (IAFL), Porto, Portugal, 10th-14th July 2017.

A corpus stylistic analysis of agency in pre-crime narratives. Presented at: The Eighth Inter-Varietal Applied Corpus Studies (IVACS) Conference, Bath, UK, 16th-17th June 2016.

Expertise as rhetorical construction: The marketing of lie detection technologies (with Chris Heffer) Symposium on Expertise in Language and Law, Cardiff University, 27th November 2015.

Bringing forensic linguistics into the second language classroom. Presented at: Tampere University of Applied Sciences (TAMK) International Week, Tampere, Finland, 15th-19th April 2013.



A corpus stylistic analysis of agency in pre-crime narratives

My research explores the use of linguistic features to navigate agency in narratives written by offenders before they commit crimes. It takes the form of a diachronic corpus stylistic analysis of pre-crime manifestos, diaries and vlogs, and aims to analyse how agency changes as the perpetrators move closer to committing their crimes, with a view to developing a diachronic model of categories of agency in pre-crime narratives.

Funding source