Sharing for sustainability and digital platforms

About the project or challenge area

The sharing economy or collaborative consumption are widely held to offer new ways of provisioning and consuming goods and services that offer significant potential for sustainability. Through the use of digital technologies, new communities or networks of people who use various ‘platforms’ to facilitate the sharing of goods and services are emerging. This project will identify a case study of collaborative consumption or sharing and examine the community of consumers involved. How does the network operate, what are the rules (formal and informal) of membership, how is it experienced, and what is the scope for its development? Potential case studies could include local food networks, local goods and service exchange platforms, child care networks or car sharing.

Why choose this project?

You will have the opportunity to investigate and examine an emergent social trend and its capacity for offering alternative forms of consumption. You will work with a leading scholar in sustainable consumption. This project is ideal for students interested in new ways of organising production and consumption and the societal benefits that could be derived from them.

About you

You will have had undergraduate training in a social science subject.

How to apply

All students can apply using the button below, following the Master's by Research Admissions Statement. Please note that this is an advertised challenge area, which means you should complete Section A + B of the Masters by Research Statement Template (Office document, 68kB).

Before applying, we recommend getting in touch with the project's supervisors. If you are interested in this project and would like to learn more about the research you will be undertaking, please use the contact details on this page.

Dale Southerton Supervisor

Your supervisor for this project will be Dale Southerton, Professor in Sociology of Consumption and Organisation in the School of  Management. You can contact him at +44 117 9288811 or email


Your co-supervisor for this project will be David Evans, Professor of Material Culture, Markets and Consumption in the School of Management. You can contact him at +44 117 39 40526 or email

Find out more about your prospective research community

The Environmental Change theme is a vibrant community of researchers who integrate expertise across multiple disciplines to provide the evidence base and solutions to tackle the world's most pressing environmental challenges. Find out more about the Environmental Change research theme.

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