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Modern Languages and LinguisticsPart of HumanitiesPostgraduate study

Ms. Catherine Blundell 

Postgraduate Research Student

Ms. Catherine Blundell's photo

Ms. Catherine Blundell is a Postgraduate Research Student in Modern Languages and Linguistics at the University of Southampton.


After completing my first degree, I decided to move to Italy to teach English. In 1997 I started work as a collaboratore ed esperto linguistico at the University of Bologna where I am still based, teaching university students at different levels and across different faculties. As a distance-learning student, I am currently working towards my PhD in Applied Linguistics with research based on the narrative analysis of stories recounted by (non-Italian) women who have relocated to Bologna for work. My main research interests include narrative identity, transnationalism and English as a Lingua Franca.


Research interests

Immigration has long been a subject of interest for researchers but is particularly important now in Italy in relation to the ageing population and the need for carers for the elderly. The “care gap” left by working mothers/Italian workers/the State when it comes to finding someone to care for the elderly, has lead to an interesting situation whereby although there have been various clampdowns on immigration into the country, carers (or badanti) have largely been exempt from these measures.

My research looks at the experiences of these foreign carers who arrive in the country often with very limited knowledge of the culture and language. In my study, I am particularly interested in narrative as the key site where identity is achieved and maintained. My data includes close analysis of interview transcripts which I use to examine how the women’s stories challenge dominant cultural narratives and how ideas of mothering, home, and belonging are (co)constructed.

My research is being supervised by Prof. Patrick Stevenson and Dr Dick Vigers.

Conference contributions:
Casa Dolce Casa, poster presentation at the Sociolinguistics Symposium 19 (August 2012), Berlin, Germany.

Language Learning Strategies, Sprach(lern)biographien, (November 2013), Facoltà di Lingue, Bologna, Italy.


Ms. Catherine Blundell
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