Profile Dr. Carolin Debray

Carolin Debray is a researcher and lecturer in English linguistics with a special interest in pragmatics, discourse analysis and intercultural communication. She has obtained her doctoral degree at the University of Warwick (UK), studying naturally occurring teamwork interactions in a diverse MBA team with a focus on the construction of positive relationships. Her doctoral dissertation “Troubles talk as a relational strategy in intercultural teamwork” (supervised by Helen Spencer-Oatey) explores indirect complaints (i.e. troubles talk), and provides a thick description of a talk activity that is ubiquitous in workplaces and everyday live. Her analysis explores how positive relations are co-constructed in this talk activity and shows that troubles talk is used strategically in teams in order to construct in-situ relations that are close, equal, safe and featuring positive affect, and even to mitigate and re-build relationships after conflict. In addition, Carolin has published on various teamwork related topics, including the construction of common ground, team dynamics, conflict and marginalization in intercultural teams. Her doctoral research was funded by the Economic and Social Research Council  (ESRC) and the Studienstiftung des deutschen Volkes.

Previous to her PhD in Applied Linguistics, Carolin has obtained an MSc in Intercultural Communication at the University of Warwick and a BA in Area Studies Asia/Africa at the Humboldt University Berlin, whose postcolonial, constructivist approach informs her engagement with “intercultural” communication until today.

Her recent work includes research projects on gendered discourses around leadership and hegemonic masculinities and femininities, workplace communication during the Covid-19 pandemic and communication in large virtual online communities.