Dr Karyn Stapleton

Senior Lecturer

School of Communication and Media

Belfast campus

Room BC-06-123A,
2-24 York Street,
BT15 1AP,
Senior Lecturer

Dr Karyn Stapleton


Life Before Ulster

Dr Karyn Stapleton studied at Ulster University in 1999 gaining BSc Hons Communication (1st class), School of Communication, Ulster; 2002: PhD in Communication and Psychology (discourse, identity, ISA), School of Communication and Psychology; Ulster


Karyn is Senior Lecturer in Communication.

Since 2015, she has been a Fellow of the Higher Education Academy.

Her areas of teaching are:

  • Interpersonal Communication
  • Social Psychology
  • Group Psychology
  • Language and Interaction


Karyn’s research interests are in interpersonal communication, discourse analysis, swearing, social psychology, and identity construction and management. Recent research publications have included articles on: interpersonal accountability, swearing, cognitive dissonance, public apology, women’s identities in conflict contexts, and narrative theory.

She has published widely in key international journals, including Discourse & Society, Journal of Language and Social Psychology, Journal of Sociolinguistics, Ethnic and Racial Studies, Journal of Pragmatics, Identities, Organization, Language in Society. She was a contributor to the Handbook of Pragmatics (de Gruyter, 2010).

She has co-edited Devolution and Identity (Ashgate/Routledge 2006/2017, with John Wilson) and Advances in Swearing Research (Benjamins 2017, with Kristy Beers Fägersten). Karyn has co-supervised four PhDs to completion and is currently co-supervising four PhDs in applied areas of communication. All of her research is concerned with how discourse and interpersonal interaction relate to other psychological, cultural, and social phenomena.

Civic Roles

Karyn is currently (joint) Vice-Chair of the Interpersonal Communication and Social Interaction (ICSI) section of the European Communication Research and Education Association. She also holds professional membership of the British Psychological Society, the International Pragmatics Association, the International Communication Association, and the International Association of Language and Social Psychology.

She was a member of a Royal Irish Academy multidisciplinary committee (2014-2017).

Karyn was a member of the Organising Committee for the 15th International Pragmatics Association Conference (Belfast, 2017); and of the Organising Committees for ICSI conferences (2011, Belfast, Northern Ireland; 2019, Tilburg, Netherlands).  She is a reviewer for a number of journals and conferences and regularly presents her work at international conferences. In 2017, she was the Keynote Speaker at The 5th Swearing in Scandinavia Symposium, Helsinki, Finland. She has been External Examiner at ITT, Dublin (until 2017), Manchester Metropolitan University (2012-2016) and Birkbeck College, University of London (2018).