I am a Lecturer in Linguistics at Manchester Metropolitan University and a PhD student in the Department of Linguistics and English Language at Lancaster University. My PhD research combines critical discourse studies, corpus linguistics, and cultural political economy to explore barriers to and opportunities for social reform on 'transgender Twitter'.

The data comprise two specialised corpora: 1) the gender-variant user biographies (G-VUB) corpus - 2,881 Twitter users' biographies; 2) the gender-variant online communication (G-VOC) corpus - c.3,700,000 tweets from those users. The aim of the research is to challenge hegemonic narratives within current socio-political movements in an effort to identify means of self-emancipation that have success potential in the existing neoliberal context.

Research Interests

My research interests are broad and wide-ranging. Most of my current research focuses on using critical linguistics to identify socio-political reform opportunities, though I am also interested in conceptual integration, digital politics and critically reflexive research ethics.


Lancaster University

PhD in Linguistics

Thesis (working title): Identifying social development opportunities on 'transgender Twitter' using corpus-driven socio-cognitive political economy analysis.

Supervisor: Dr Veronika Koller.

Lancaster University

Master of Research, Applied Linguistics

(Condition of upgrade to PhD candidature). Dissertation: "The Struggle Within": Problematising contradictory agentive identity, hegemony, and ideology in the gender-variant economic imaginary on Twitter.

Supervisor: Dr Veronika Koller.

Manchester Metropolitan University

Bachelor of Arts, Linguistics

First Class. Dissertation: Self-constructed transgender identities in internet-mediated communication: A corpus-based approach to critical discourse analysis.

Supervisor: Dr Stella Bullo.

Awards and Grants

David Hand Prize (2015)

Awarded for the best overall performance in the Department of Languages, Information and Communications at Manchester Metropolitan University.

David Hand was a Senior Lecturer at Manchester Metropolitan University, in the Department of Languages. Sadly, David passed away in 2008. This award ensures that his memory remains at Manchester Metropolitan University.

Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences '1+3' Scholarship

2016. PhD Studentship. Value: £15,000.
2015. Fee waiver. Value: £16,000.


Webster, L. (2019). “I am I”: Self-constructed transgender identities in Internet-mediated forum communication. International Journal of the Sociology of Language (IJSL), 2019(256), 129-146.

Webster, L. (2018). "I Wanna Be a Toy": Self-sexualisation in gender-variant Twitter users' biographies. Journal of Language and Sexuality, 7(2). 205-236.

Webster, L. (2018). "Misery Business?": The contribution of corpus-driven critical discourse analysis to understanding gender-variant Twitter users' experiences of employment. puntOorg International Journal, 3(1/2). 25-50.

Conference Papers

Webster, L. (2017). "Friend Like Me": A socio-cognitive approach to the critical analysis of social identity construction by gender-variant Twitter users. Paper presented at the 24th annual Lavender Languages and Linguistics conference, Nottingham: UK, 28-30 April, 2017.

Webster, L. (2017). "Welcome to the Pleasuredome": Exploring representations of sex acts, bodies, and sexualities by gender-variant Twitter users. Paper presented at the 24th annual Lavender Languages and Linguistics conference, Nottingham: UK, 28-30 April, 2017.

Webster, L. (2016). “A New Level”: A corpus-based method for the critical analysis of gender-variant identity representations via Twitter. Paper presented at the biennial Critical Approaches to Discourse Analysis Across Disciplines conference, Catania: Sicily, 5-7 September, 2016.

Webster, L. (2015). "The Reflecting God": Representing truths, ideologies and interpreted worlds in discourse with verba sentiendi. Poster presented to the meeting of the Manchester Forum in Linguistics, Manchester: UK, 6-7 November, 2015.

Invited Talks

Webster, L. (2019). "Wide Open Space": The birth of Dissenter and its implications for free speech online. Guest speaker, Manchester Metropolitan University, UK.

Webster, L. (2018). "The New Transmission": Moving beyond hate speech, validation and coercion. Guest speaker, Manchester Metropolitan University, UK.

Webster, L. (2018). "Mixed Signals": Deictic space, metaphor, and un/intentional blends in gender-variant discourse on Twitter. Guest speaker, Northumbria University, UK.

Webster, L. (2017). "Family Portrait": Conflicting representations of gender, sex, and sexuality by gender-variant Twitter users. Guest speaker, York St. John University, UK.

Webster, L. (2017). "Lost in the Echo": The affordances of Twitter for constructing, challenging, and reinforcing individual and collective gender-variant identities. Guest speaker, Cambridge University, UK.