Dr Philippa Smith

Philippa Smith.

Research Manager — Institute of Culture, Discourse and Communication at AUT University.

Philippa is the research manager in the Institute of Culture, Discourse and Communication and a senior lecturer on the School of Language and Culture's BA in English and New Media Studies programme.

Following a career in journalism and public relations in the United Kingdom and in New Zealand, Philippa returned to academic studies completing an MA in Communication Studies and a Doctor of Philosophy — both from AUT University.

Philippa's doctoral thesis titled  New Zealanders on the 'Net: discourses of national identities in cyberspace identified discourses about national identity by analysing the 'talk' of New Zealanders through computer-mediated communication (CMC) on the Internet during the 2000s when the nation was becoming notably more diverse.

Applying a 'discourse-historical' methodological approach of critical discourse analysis, as developed by Ruth Wodak and others (1999, 2000, 2008), Philippa's study examined competing discourses based on people's understanding of nationhood in relation to their ethnicity and/or ties with former homelands, to their kiwi citizenship and to various perspectives on what it means to be a 'New Zealander'. View the thesis here.

Research interests

Philippa's research interests are mainly in the areas of media, communications, identity and discourse analysis (predominantly critical discourse analysis). She is particularly interested in investigating discourses through the analysis of texts whether television programmes, political speeches and documents, news articles, websites or online discussions.

Theoretical approaches she has applied include argumentation theory and social constructionism. Philippa has been involved in a number of research projects at AUT including the NZ Television Violence Project (2003), and the bro’Town Research Project (2005-2006). In addition she has been a member of the World Internet Project team since 2007 that surveys New Zealander's biennially about their Internet use as part of a cross-country comparison.

Philippa is a founding member of both ICDC's Discourse Research Group and the Internet Research Group. She is a member of the Association of Internet Researchers and has been a co-editor of ICDC's on-line publication, Working Papers in Communication Research. In 2011 and 2012 Philippa was a plenary speaker along with Dr Jennie Billot and Professor Allan Bell respectively at InternetNZ’s Nethui conferences in Auckland.


  • 2007 — Recipient of an AUT contestable PhD scholarship
  • 2006 — Awarded financial support from the Royal Society of New Zealand's International Science and Technology Fund to attend the international partners’ meeting of the World Internet Project, Beijing, People's Republic of China, July, 2006.
  • 2004 — Recipient of AUT, Vice-Chancellors award for excellence in team research in the Television Violence in NZ project
  • 2003 — Recipient of the AUT School of Communications Studies award for excellence in Post-Graduate Research — Master of Arts in Communications Studies, Auckland University of Technology.

Selected publications

  • Smith, P. (2013). 'Heroic Endeavours: Flying High in New Zealand Reality Television.' In N. Lorenzo-Dus and P. Blitvich (eds.) Real Talk: Reality Television and Discourse in Action. Basingstoke, UK: Palgrave Macmillan.
  • Bell, A. & Smith, P. (2012). 'News Discourse.' In Carol A. Chapelle (ed.) The Online Encyclopedia of Applied Linguistics. Wiley-Blackwell.
  • Smith, P., Smith, N., Sherman, K., Goodwin, I., Crothers, C., Billot, J., Bell, A. (2010). The Internet in New Zealand 2009. Auckland: Institute of Culture, Discourse and Communication, AUT University.
  • Lustyik, K. and Smith, P. (2010). From The Simpsons to “The Simpsons of the South Pacific": New Zealand’s First Primetime Animation, bro' Town in Television & New Media 11(5) 331–349.
  • Smith, P. (2009). Rebuilding New Zealand’s national identity: A critical discourse analysis of the role of the charismatic documentary presenter. In 'Critical Discourse Analysis: An interdisciplinary perspective'T. Le (ed) Nova Publisher, New York.
  • Smith, P., & Bell, A. (2008) English in Mass Communications: News Discourse and the Language of Journalism.  In A Companion to the History of the English Language. H. Momma and M. Matto (eds). Blackwell Publishing: Oxford.
  • Smith, P. & Lustyik, K. (2008) The global popularity of animated sitcoms — 'bro' Town' — New Zealand's answer to 'The Simpsons’. In Youth, Media and Culture in the Asia Pacific Region International Symposium. Cambridge Scholars Publishing: Newcastle-upon-Tyne, UK.
  • Smith, P., Smith, N., Sherman, K., Kripalani, K., Goodwin, I., Crothers, C., Bell, A. (November, 2008) The Internet: Social and demographic impacts in Aotearoa New Zealand, Journal Observatorio (OBS*), 2 (3). — document stored as "Observatorio final.doc"
  • Smith, P. & Bell, A. (2007) Unravelling the web of discourse analysis in Media Studies: Key Issues and Debates, E.  Devereux (ed) Sage Publications: London.
  • King, B., Bridgman, G., Smith, P., Bell, A., King, A., Harvey, S., Crothers, C., and Hassall, I. (2003). Television Violence in New Zealand: A study of programming and policy in international context. Centre for Communication Research, AUT University.
  • Smith, P. (2003).  Desperately seeking a national Identity: an examination of narrative in the Heartland television series and its influence in defining New Zealanders. Unpublished MA thesis. School of Communication Studies. AUT University.

Contact: philippa.smith@aut.ac.nz

Last updated: 30-Oct-2015 10.08am

The information on this page was correct at time of publication. For a comprehensive overview of AUT qualifications, please refer to the Academic Calendar.