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Cognitive and Functional Approaches to Narratives of Pain and Healing (advert reference: ADSS/DRFASS7/53661)

   Department of Humanities

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  Dr M Huang  No more applications being accepted  Competition Funded PhD Project (Students Worldwide)

About the Project

Project Description

This PhD research project invites you to explore authentic narratives surrounding the theme of “pain” and “healing” through a multidisciplinary approach that involves cognitive linguistics, systemic functional grammar and narrative inquiry.

The project will entail a comprehensive study on how authentic narratives represent and communicate the conceptualization of “pain” (a kind of suffering that may include, but not limited to, physical, psychological and emotional struggle) and “healing” (which involves processes / strategies whereby pain is dealt with or managed). Recent findings in cognitive linguistics, systemic functional grammar and narrative inquiry will be employed to analyse authentic linguistic data, which in turn will yield new insight into the perceptions of pain and healing. The “authentic” narratives under examination may appear in a variety of discourse genres, although narratives in medical discourse or within healthcare communities will be preferred. Narratives under examination should represent relevant aspects of the theme of Pain and Healing, and are communicated to the readership in real life. You will have the opportunity to collect, observe and analyse real-life linguistic data. You will be working with supervisors who are experts in the field to develop and consolidate your research progress.

Potential research topics may include: the use of conceptual metaphor and metonymy in pain management narratives; storytelling and cognitive simulation in medical discourse; embodiment of pain in self-narrative memoirs; metafunctional approach to therapeutic writing.

Candidates are required to have a good academic background in cognitive linguistics and systemic functional grammar. Knowledge and experience in narrative inquiry and / or corpus linguistics will be of advantage although not essential.

Informal Enquiries
Enquiries regarding this studentship should be made to: [Email Address Removed]; [Email Address Removed]

Eligibility criteria:

Applicants should hold a first or upper second class honours degree (in a relevant subject) from a British higher education institution, or equivalent. Students who are not UK/EU residents are eligible to apply, provided they hold the relevant academic qualifications, together with an IELTS score of at least 6.5.

To apply, contact Andrea Percival to request the appropriate application form, quoting the advert reference above, via email to [Email Address Removed] or by using the application link on this page.

Deadline for applications: 14th April 2014
Start Date: 7th October 2014

Funding Notes

The studentship includes a full stipend, paid for three years at RCUK rates (in 2014/15 this is 13,863 pa) and Home/EU fees. Overseas candidates are also eligible to apply.


Huang, M. and Ye, Y, J (in preparation) “Story-centred care and narrative intervention for lung cancer patients”, in Applied Nursing Research.
Huang, M. (2014) “A cognitive-linguistics approach to the investigation of narratives and branding”, to appear in SKY Journal of Linguistics.
Huang, M. (2012), “Exploring meaning construction in narrative discourse”, in 4th UK Cognitive Linguistics Conference, London
Huang, M. (2011), “Exploring conceptual metaphor with a dual model”, in 11th International Cognitive Linguistics Conference, Xi’an, China.
Huang, M. (2009) ‘Solving the Riddle of Metaphor: A Salience-based Model for Metaphorical Interpretation in a Discourse Context’, in V. Evans and S. Pourcel eds, New Directions in Cognitive Linguistics, Amsterdam: John Benjamins pp. 107-26.
Edwards, R. (2013) The Role of Fear and Envy in the Discursive Construction of the Beijing Olympics in British Broadsheets’ , Critical Discourse Studies, Volume 10, Issue 3, pages 275-297
Edwards, R. (2012) ‘Jonathan Lewis’s China: A Documentary Record of People, Policy, and Place’, ed. L Hernandez, in China and the West: Encounters with the Other in Culture, Arts, Politics and Everyday Life, Newcastle upon Tyne: Cambridge Scholar.
Edwards, R. (2011) ‘The Construction of Women's Lives Through Narrative Voice in Jonathan Lewis's China: Women of the Country’, Women's Studies, 40:7, 910-933.
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