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Emma Parfitt



Current awards 2016-2017

IAS Early careers fellowship (£6,360) & IATL Strategic grant (£12,515)

Welcome. During my PhD I was interested in using oral storytelling as a sociological method. My theoretical framework incorporated the work of literature critic Jack Zipes and sociologist Arlie Hochschild. Zipes (1983: 29-57, 2006: 22, 37) argued that ‘fairy tales express a human struggle to form and maintain a civilizing process’ while Hochschild (2012: 265) proposed that a better model of social exchange could be developed by including emotion. She supported that a rounded model had to take into account personal agency and subversion. My aim was to incorporate the ideas of Zipes and Hochschild into a broader theoretical framework. A framework informed by the work of others, like Freire on education, Bourdieu on habitus, and Plummer on power, which I attempted to go beyond by drawing upon the application of a practical ‘storytelling space’.

What role might stories, particularly storytelling as a form of social story, play in our understanding of how morals, ethics, behaviours and emotions are transmitted in society? I researched this by focusing on applied storytelling research with 12-14 years olds through a comparative analysis of three schools.

My research asked: how do young people negotiate the emotional and behavioural dimensions of their lives in empowering or constraining ways?

My current research with the Belgrade Theatre, Coventry, retospectively interviews previous participants of youth theatre projects and asks what impact youth storytelling workshops had on their lives, and subsequent arts engagement (funded by an Institute of Advanced Teaching and Learning strategic grant).


Professor Mike Wilson, Dean of Research at Loughborough University, School of the Arts, English and Drama

Dr Debra Ingram, University of Minnesota, centre for applied research and educational improvement

The George Ewart Evans Centre for Storytelling (storytelling research centre)

Beyond the Boarders (Storytelling Festival)

Neighbourhood Bridges (Storytelling Charity in Minneapolis)

Contact details:

E dot L dot Parfitt at warwick dot ac dot uk



Professor Mick Carpenter (Sociology), Dr Sarah Moss (Comparative literature)



Sociology PhD Researcher

Emma Parfitt

E dot L dot Parfitt at warwick dot ac dot uk