Profiles

Linnea Hanell

Linnea Hanell

Universitetslektor

Visa sidan på svenska
Works at The Department of Swedish Language and Multilingualism
Email linnea.hanell@su.se
Visiting address Universitetsvägen 10 D
Room D 345
Postal address Inst. för svenska och flerspråkighet 106 91 Stockholm

About me

My main research interest lies at the intersection of discourse and health. My doctoral thesis The Knowledgeable Parent is concerned with the communication of health knowledge among new parents in Sweden. I defended my thesis in March 2017.

Teaching

I mainly teach sociolinguistics courses of various kinds. In addition to this, I supervise and examine BA theses on subjects such as learning, critical discourse analysis, and health. I have also taught courses in writing. 

Research

Health is often considered something that can be accomplished with the aid of communication. In this logic, individuals and institutions engage in several forms of communicative practices to seek, distribute, and negotiate health knowledge. These communicative practices are what I find interesting to investigate in my doctoral research on health communication and early parenting.

Language is, to borrow Duranti's apt phrasing, a non-neutral medium for communication, a fact which is ever so relevant in practices of health communication, where the discourse is saturated with moral ideas about health and healthy lifestyles. Linguistic anthropology and sociolinguistics are two subdisciplines I have found useful for exploring this issue. The framework of mediated discourse analysis has been a great source of inspiration, not least for designing studies and finding out what to study in the first place. 

Please see my Academia.edu page for the latest updates of publications and presentations.

Publications

A selection from Stockholm University publication database
  • 2017. Linnea Hanell (et al.).

    This thesis explores the communication of health knowledge among new parents in Sweden. Based on three separate studies, the thesis employs a selection of theoretical concepts and methodological approaches, mainly originating from mediated discourse analysis and linguistic anthropology. Study 1 takes a broad view on the object and asks how knowledge circulates and emerges in a particular arena for parental knowledge. Drawing on nine months of online fieldwork on a discussion forum thread for expectant parents, the study shows that communication of knowledge is engendered by entextualizations and recenterings of previous experiences, including encounters with discourse. This fact challenges categorical conceptions that construct some sources of health knowledge as trustworthy and others as unreliable, and thus, potentially harmful. Study 2 narrows the focus to professionals typically perceived as producers of parental health knowledge, namely, midwives who give prenatal education classes. Drawing on a dataset comprising observations of classes as well as interviews with midwives, the study throws analytical light on anticipatory discourse, that is, discourse designed to dictate and influence the future, and elucidates some of the ways in which midwives prepare the participants for their upcoming delivery by discursively constructing links to these future events. Study 3, finally, takes the perspective of a single individual in whose life several forms of communicated parental knowledge converge as she becomes a mother. The study focuses on a period during which this individual struggles with breastfeeding problems. A combination of the notions of interdiscursivity and the historical body is here employed to grasp this experience as shaped in relation to discourse regarding child care and health. Looking at narrative data through this lens, the study shows how this individual connects failure to follow official breastfeeding recommendations to failure to perform child care in an appropriate way. At heart, the study makes a case for the moral loading of health knowledge and cautions against the assumption that authoritative medical knowledge is the only means for taking action that a new mother might need. In conclusion, the present thesis utilizes a combination of theoretical and methodological tools from MDA and linguistic anthropology to enable a discourse analysis of health communication that privileges a view of language in use as accumulating vis-à-vis engendering meaning over time and in relation to social action. Invoking the notion of ideologies of communication, it demonstrates that parents’ knowledge about their children’s health is a non-neutral issue, and that instrumental aspects of parental health knowledge can never be isolated from moral ideas regarding how particular parenting practices are to be carried out. At the same time, the thesis points out that while representatives of institutions of the welfare state may produce messages to communicate health knowledge, the knowledge obtained by individuals is the product of myriad discursive encounters and other experiences, of which the discourse produced by representatives of state institutions constitutes only one share.

  • 2017. Linnea Hanell. Journal of Linguistic Anthropology

    This article explores the relationship between discourse and experiences of ill health. Drawing on narratives, it shows how a mother experiencing difficulties breastfeeding embodies sentiments of shame over what she perceives as a failure to perform motherhood. The notions of interdiscursivity and historical bodies are employed to ground the individual’s experience in discursive practices and to argue that shame is a sentiment that arises in the rupture of biopolitical ideologies construed in those practices. Expressing shame becomes a resource for assuming responsibility over failed motherhood, at the same time that it appears to obstruct recovery to smoothly functioning breastfeeding.

  • Linnea Hanell.

    This article explores communicative aspects of preparing others, by studying prenatal education classes in which midwives prepare expectant parents for delivery. Data include documentation from classes and interviews with the presenters. This twofold dataset enables investigation into how ideologies of communication figure into the production of discourse. A dominant idea is that discourse can stand in for lived experience in the endeavor to decrease nervousness and fear in the expectant parents. The observation data are therefore analyzed by paying attention to how the expectant parents’ future deliveries are discursively represented. Drawing on the conceptual framework for analyzing anticipatory discourse, the study shows how the midwives largely frame this future as predictable and the mother as highly agentive. When addressing unexpected turbulence, however, the midwives use the opportunity to stress the agency of medical professionals to maintain a representation of the delivery event as generally predictable.

  • 2017. Linnea Hanell, Linus Salö. Entangled Discourses, 154-170

    The main argument of this chapter is that knowledge is a phenomenon to be understood in the intersection of discourse and action, and that entextualization (Bauman and Briggs 1990) mediates this relationship. Drawing on mediated discourse analysis (Scollon and Scollon 2004; Jones 2013), the chapter explores an online discussion forum thread used by over 200 pregnant women expecting a child in the same month. The empirical examples demonstrate how the participants in this thread exchange information, provide reports and contest knowledge. By way of these examples, the analysis claims that a key process in such knowledge practices is the entextualization of prior actions, often from the private life of the participants. Through such processes, a range of transient actions are treated as a unit, such as an experience, that is given a linguistic form. Recentered in the interaction of the thread, the unit functions as a piece of knowledge for others to draw on. In this vein, the discussion forum becomes a resource for the participants to appropriate control over medical knowledge and the biologically and socially turbulent experience of pregnancy.

  • 2017. Linnea Hanell. Politics, Protest, Emotion, 169-172
  • Linnea Hanell, Linus Salö.

    This paper is concerned with knowledge as an object of sociolinguistic inquiry. Drawing on some key work in mediated discourse analysis, MDA (Jones, 2013; Scollon and Scollon, 2004), we hold that knowledge is, as it were, a crucial aspect of the processes whereby people take actions with discourses. We frame this pursuit by dwelling on the interwoven relationship between power and knowledge, looking into an online discussion forum thread used by some 200 people who are expecting a child in the same month.

  • 2014. Linnea Hanell, Mona Blåsjö. Analysing text AND talk, 14-27
  • 2014. Linus Salö, Linnea Hanell. Language & Communication 37, 12-28

    This paper investigates the sociolinguistic repertoire and writing practices of a Swedish computer science researcher and his first-time performance of unprecedented genres. Since the use of written computerese Swedish has no historical anchorage in the social practices of his discipline, texts-to-text relationships cannot be drawn from as models of action. Lacking this option, the researcher construes type and token interdiscursive connectivity from iconic Swedish and English texts and from prior discursive events of using academic Swedish orally. The resources comprising an individual’s repertoire are, thus, significantly transposable across languages, modes and genres, when they are enacted in new discursive events.

  • 2012. Linnea Hanell. Språkbruk (4), 9-13
  • 2012. Linnea Hanell. Myndigheterna har ordet, 105-122
  • 2011. Linnea Hanell.
Show all publications by Linnea Hanell at Stockholm University

Last updated: August 15, 2018

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