New research fellow for interdisciplinary research on Justice, Insecurity and Decision-Making

By Dr Diana Camps (School of Law) 

My interest in social justice began more than two decades ago when I worked for a large NGO in Chicago where I was responsible for helping newly arrived refugees transition into the labour market. It was there that issues of justice and insecurity were first brought to light and fuelled my desire to better understand the decision-making processes, policies and mechanisms that produce inequality and embed injustice. From my perspective, cultural and linguistic elements (including discourse) are key factors in the (re)production of social differentiation and inequality, which intersect with several other domains. Struggles for social and economic equality are thus often played out on the terrain of language. Understanding these dynamics is particularly relevant to facilitating access to justice for rights holders in the UK (and elsewhere) and especially salient in current debates on Brexit, social welfare, migration, and the Covid-19 pandemic. 

My research has directed attention to different marginalised groups, namely refugee adults in the US, minoritised language speakers in the Netherlands and social rights practitioners/ rights holders in the UK but has kept a central focus on how policy discourses are transformed through social action and their role in shaping contemporary programs and practices. Recently I collaborated on a Nuffield Foundation funded project at the University of Stirling (Principal Investigator, Prof Katie Boyle) examining access to justice and appropriate remedies for social rights violations across the four UK jurisdictions. This work clearly demonstrated how combining different approaches in research and analysis offers a unique perspective on societal challenges that bridge different fields and therefore require multi-disciplinary perspectives to develop new and innovative solutions.  

I hold a PhD in Sociolinguistics from the Center for Multilingualism in Society across the Lifespan (MultiLing) at the University of Oslo (Norway), a Master of Arts in Teaching English as a Second Language (MA-TESL) from the University of Texas at San Antonio (USA) and a Bachelor of Arts in International Studies (European Studies: French with a minor in Russian) from Texas A&M University (USA).  

As Research Fellow with the , I look forward to further engagement with colleagues to develop and collaborate on new inquiries addressing various challenges at the intersection of language, law, and human rights. I am particularly interested in the social and discursive processes that play a pivotal role in decision-making processes. My expertise lies in discourse analysis and qualitative (mixed) methods, drawing on critical approaches within legal and discourse studies, sociolinguistics, linguistic anthropology, political economy and language planning and policy (LPP). 

Interdisciplinary Research Fellows have been appointed in order to support funding applications from colleagues across the College of Social Science, as well as working on fellowship applications to further their own research trajectories. If you are thinking about applying for funding and wondering how Diana's role could support this, please get in touch:

First published: 2 August 2022