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Professor Robin Wooffitt



  • DPhil (York)
  • BSc (Bristol)

After a DPhil in Sociology at the University of York, Robin worked as a Research Fellow, then Lecturer and then Senior Lecturer in the Department of Sociology at the University of Surrey.

From 2001-2 he was a Visiting Fellow in the Koestler Parapsychology Unit at the University of Edinburgh, and took up his post at York in October 2002.



Robin has long standing interests in the way in which anomalous or exceptional experiences are mediated through language and social interaction. He is the Director of the Anomalous Experiences Research Unit, which specialises in social scientific analysis of the characteristics and contexts of e xperiences that suggest anomalous psychological processes and agencies, and exceptional states of consciousness.

In his current research, he is examining the role of language in parapsychological experiments. He also has interests in the organisation of factual discourse, language and identity and the relationship between conversation analysis and discursive psychology. While is happy to supervise students working in any of these areas, he is particularly keen to encourage applications from students whose interests overlap with the goals of AERU.


Selected publications

  • Wooffitt, R. and Holt, N. (2011) Looking In and Speaking Out: Introspection, Communication, Consciousness. Exeter, UK: Imprint Academic, pp. 240. ISBN 9781845402273

Looking in and Speaking Out: Introspection, Consciousness, Communication

  •  Hutchby, I. and Wooffitt, R. (2008) Conversation Analysis: Principles, Practices and Applications.  Second edition Oxford: Polity Press, pp.260. ISBN: Hb: 978-0-7456-3865-2

Conversation Analysis Secound Edition

  • Wooffitt, R.  (2006) The Language of Mediums and Psychics: the Social Organisation of Everyday Miracles. Aldershot: Ashgate. pp. 230. ISBN: 0-7546-4202-X

The Language of Mediums and Psychics: The Social Organization of Everyday Miracles

  • Wooffitt, R.  (2005) Conversation Analysis and Discourse Analysis: A Comparative and Critical Introduction.   London: Sage, pp. 234. ISBN: Pb: 0-7619-7426-1; Hb : 0-7619-7425-3 

Conversation Analysis and Discourse Analysis: A Comparative and Critical Introduction

  • Hutchby, I. and Wooffitt, R. (1998) Conversation Analysis: Principles, Practices and Applications.  Oxford: Polity Press, reprinted 1999, 2001, 2003, pp. 273. ISBN: Pb: 0-7456-1541-2; Hb: 0-7456-1548-1

Conversation Analysis

  • Wooffitt, R.,  Fraser, N., Gilbert, G.N. and McGlashan, S. (1997) Humans, Computers and Wizards: Conversation Analysis and Human (Simulated) Computer Interaction.  London: Routledge, pp. 207. ISBN: Hb: 0-415-06948-3

Humans, Computers and Wizards

  • Widdicombe, S. and Wooffitt, R. (1995) The Language of Youth Subcultures: Social Identity in Action. Hemel Hempstead: Harvester Wheatsheaf, pp. 250. ISBN: Pb: 0-7450-1419-4
  • Wooffitt, R. (1992) Telling Tales of the Unexpected: the Organisation of Factual Discourse. Hemel Hempstead: Harvester Wheatsheaf, pp. 217. ISBN: Pb: 0-7450-1052-0; Hb: 0-7450-1051-2
  • PDF available for download here.: wooffitt-tellingtales (PDF , 626kb)

Telling Tales of the Unexpected: The Organisation of Factual Discourse Telling Tales of the Unexpected Japanese Edition

Journal Special Editions
  • Murray, C. and Wooffitt, R. (eds.) (2010) Anomalous Experiences and Qualitative Research. Special Issue, Qualitative Research in Psychology 7(1).
  • Ashmore, M., Wooffitt, R. and Harding, S.,  (eds.) (1994) Humans and Others: The Concept Of “Agency” And Its Attribution.  Special Issue of American Behavioral Scientist vol. 37, 6: 733-856.

Full publications list

Journal articles

  • Ohashi, Y., Wooffitt, R., Jackson, C. and Nixon, Y. 'Discourse, culture and extraordinary experiences: observations from a comparative, qualitative analysis of Japanese and UK English accounts of paranormal phenomena’ forthcoming, Western Journal of Communication.
  • Wooffitt, R., Jackson, C, Reed, D. Ohashi, Y. and Hughes, I. ‘Self-identity, authenticity and the Other: The spirits and audience management in stage mediumship’ forthcoming, Language and Communication.
  • Wooffitt, R. (forthcoming) Commentary of Zeitlyn’s  ‘Divinatory logics: diagnoses and predictions mediating outcomes’. Journal of Anthropology.
  • Wooffitt, R. and Holt, N. (2011) 'Introspective discourse and the poetics of subjective experience’ Research on Language and Social Interaction, 44(2), 135–156.
  • Wooffitt, R. and Holt, N. (2010) 'Silence and its organisation in the pragmatics of introspection' Discourse Studies, 12(03),m 379-406
  • Wooffitt, R., Holt, N. and Allistone, S. (2010) 'Introspection as institutional practice: reflections on the attempt to capture conscious experience in a parapsychology experiment' in C. Murray and R. Wooffitt (Eds.) Anomalous Experiences and Qualitative Research. Special Issue, Qualitative Research in Psychology, 5-20.
  • Wooffitt, R. and Murray, C. (2010) Introduction' in  C. Murray and R. Wooffitt (Eds.)
    Anomalous Experiences and Qualitative Research. Special Issue,  Qualitative Research in Psychology. 7(1): 1-4.
  • Wooffitt, R. (2010) 'Towards a sociological parapsychology' in M. Smith (ed.) Anomalous Experiences: Essays from Parapsychological and Psychological Perspectives. North Carolina and London: McFarland, 72-91.
  • Wooffitt, R. and Holt N. (2008) 'Reporting on Consciousness: communication in mentation narratives' Proceedings of the 51st Annual Convention of the Parapsychological Association New York: The Parapsychological Association, 288-303.
  • Wooffitt, R., and Allistone, S. (2008) 'Participation, procedure and accountability: reported speech markers in a parapsychology experiment' Discourse Studies 10: 407-427.
  • Wooffitt, R (2008)  'Observations on trouble management in psychic practitioner - sitter
    interaction' European Journal of Parapsychology 23(1): 60-89.
  • Wooffitt, R. and Gilbert, H. (2008) ' Discourse, rhetoric and the accomplishment of mediumship in stage demonstrations' Mortality  13(3): 222-240.
  • Wooffitt, R. (2008) 'Conversation analysis and discourse analysis' in N. Gilbert (ed,) Researching Social Life (3rd edition) London: Sage, 440-461.
  • Wooffitt, R. (2007) 'Epistemic authority and neutrality in the discourse of psychic practitioners: towards a naturalistic parapsychology'  Journal of Parapsychology  71: 69-101.
  • Wooffitt, R. (2007) ‘Communication and laboratory experience in parapsychology experiments: demand characteristics and the social organization of interaction.’  British Journal of Social Psychology.  46(3) 477-498.
  • Allistone, S. and Wooffitt, R. (2007) ‘Negotiating consciousness: parapsychology and the social organisation of reports of mental states’ in A. Hepburn and S. Wiggins (eds.)  Discursive Research in Practice: New Approaches to Psychology and Interaction. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 70-87.
  • Wooffitt, R., and Allistone, S. (2005) ‘Towards a discursive parapsychology: language and the laboratory study of anomalous communication.’ Theory and Psychology 15:3, 325-355.
  • Wooffitt, R. (2003) ‘Conversation analysis and parapsychology: experimenter-subject interaction in ganzfeld experiments.’ Journal of Parapsychology. 67: 299-324.

Contact details

Professor Robin Wooffitt
Department of Sociology LMB/229
University of York
YO10 5GD

Tel: +44 (0)1904 32 3063