Research

Here are my ongoing research projects and interests.

Listening and Conversational Ethics

My flagship resarch project is an investigation into conversational ethics, with an emphasis on what it means to listen to someone and why we care so much about being listened to. I argue that interpersonal listening is a morally loaded concept. This project critiques frames normally in use for examining communication in philosophy and proposes an alternative framing: the Discourse Ecology Model. I draw on communication sciences (Ethnomethodology, Conversation Analysis, Interactional Linguistics, Pragmatics) to inform the model. I incorporate the above sciences using my Methodology for Morality in Talk, developed as part of this project.

Listening, Wellbeing, and
Depersonalisation

As a fellow of the Institude for Medical Humanities at Durham University, I am writing about how the morality of listening can inform communication in clinical encounters. I also focus on how discursive harms (not being listened to, not being believed, being silenced or gaslit) contribute to fragmentation and depersonalisation of selves. Good listening, on the other hand, can function restoratively, supporting reintegration of the self.

For the Life of the World:
Choice-Worthy Risks in Kidney Donation and Pregnancy

This project looks contrastively at narratives of risk, choice, and autonomy in the embodied, life-giving project of pregnancy and having a child, and at narratives and imaginaries surrounding the embodied, life-giving project of becoming a live kidney donor. On the conversational side, I look at the requesting and telling of motivational stories; the questions asked of potential parents/donors; and the questions considered unaskable for each group. On the value side, I look at the cultural priorities and controlling narratives which surround the difference in how these two projects, which have many intriguing similarities, are valued and contested.

Listening in Public Discourse: Depolarisation and the Politics of Difference

This project looks at how public discourse is disrupted, and polarisation exacerbated, by habits of moral associationism, which are based on anxieties around moral contamination – that is, the worry that talking to fellow citizens who are morally and epistemically untrustworthy can pose risks to ones own integrity. Thus, people are reluctant to talk and listen to those outside their circles of political friendship, creating their own ‘bubbles’. Building on my work on conversational ethics, I am building a new taxonomy of listening behaviours, designed to enable people to explicitly and reflectively navigate the moral stakes of listening to strangers.