ESRC Midlands Graduate School PHD 2020

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Type Job
Categoryies (tags) Uncategorized
Dates 2019/12/01 - 2020/02/14
Address Nottingham Universtiy, UK
Geolocation 52° 56' 19", -1° 11' 43"
Abstract due
Submission deadline 2020/02/14
Final version due
Notification date
Tweet Fully Funded PhD position, Nottingham/Loughborough, UK: Managing Selfhood in Dementia: Interrogating the operationalisation of identity work and its relationship with media representations supervised by Prof. Elizabeth Peel and Prof. Alison Pilnick
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ESRC Midlands Graduate School PHD 2020:


Managing Selfhood in Dementia: Interrogating the operationalisation of identity work and its relationship with media representations.

The study of how identities are negotiated and enacted in talk has a long history in Conversation Analytic (CA) research and, given the complexities associated with personhood/communication in dementia such research continues to be important. The loss of sense of selfhood is a commonly feared part of dementia, but little is known about how recent increased dementia media presence impacts wider public identities. The project aims to interrogate the concepts of ‘identity’ and ‘concern’ (or dementia worry) within dementia communication and media representation. The research questions are:

  • RQ1) How are issues of identity, and self, managed in communication with people living with a dementia? What are the interactional components of identity work?
  • RQ2) How are ideas and expectations about the relationship between memory, self and identity constructed in contemporary media representations of dementia?
  • RQ3) What is the relationship between media representations of dementia and ‘dementia worry’, and how do gender, age, and other characteristics inform this relationship?

To address RQ1, a pre-existing video-data corpus, comprising recordings in domestic contexts (specialist dementia care home and the homes of family dementia carers) and a memory clinic will be analysed using CA. To explore RQ2 and 3, recent media coverage of dementia will be analysed for recurring themes. Vignettes/examples of key media messages about brain health/dementia risk then will comprise part of an attitudinal online questionnaire targeted at a large and broad sample of over 18s. This will substantively add to knowledge about the relationship between dementia media representation and individuals’ perceptions of risk and ‘concern’ about a most feared disease. Moreover, the questionnaire will be used as a recruitment tool to sample a diversity of respondents for follow-up interview/focus group (n=30) to gain in-depth insight into the impact of contemporary media representation on perception.

Further details of the academic content of this studentship can be found here on the full-length version of the advertisement.

Application Process

To be considered for this PhD, please complete the Joint Studentship application form available online here and provide a CV and covering letter and email this to Shortlisted applicants will also be required to provide two references.

  • Application deadline: Friday 14 February 2020
  • Midlands Graduate School ESRC DTP
  • Supervisors: Prof Liz Peel and Prof Alison Pilnick (University of Nottingham)

Our ESRC studentships cover fees and maintenance stipend and extensive support for research training, as well as research activity support grants. Support is available only to successful applicants who fulfil eligibility criteria. To check your eligibility, visit:

Informal enquiries about the research or the Communication & Media Department prior to application can be directed to Elizabeth Peel,