Professor Dale Southerton

Professor Dale Southerton

Professor Dale Southerton
Professor in Sociology of Consumption and Organisation

Howard House, Queen's Avenue, Bristol
(See a map)


Telephone Number (0117) 39 41816

Cabot Institute

Department of Management

Personal profile

I joined the University of Bristol in 2018 having previously been Professor of Sociology and Director of the Sustainable Consumption Institute at the University of Manchester. Currently, I am the Acting Director of the Cabot Institute for the Environment.

My approach to academic life has always had two notable features. First, I am particularly engaged in inter-disciplinary activities. I describe myself as principally a sociologist because I find that the ‘sociological imagination’ is particularly useful in asking different questions in order to better understand difficult societal problems (like climate change). However, it is through engagement with different perspectives, ideas, and approaches – which are found within and cut across other disciplines – that academic work can really bring about progressive approaches to tackling societal problems. This leads to a second feature of my work, which is to engage with communities in policy, business and civil society. To this end, I have worked with various organizations including the IPCC, the UK Committee on Climate Change, DEFRA, the Scottish Government, Unilever, Tesco, and Forum for the Future.

My research is conducting in collaboration with a wide range of groups. I have led a number of research projects and been involved in several research centres, particularly the ESRC Centre for Research on Innovation and Competition (CRIC) where I was a Research Fellow, the ESRC Centre for Socio-Cultural Change (CRESC), and was the PI and Director of the ESRC Centre ‘Sustainable Practices Research Group’ (SPRG), which was co-funded by DEFRA and the Scottish Government. I have also worked closely with the EPSRC/ ESRC ‘DEMAND Centre’ at the University of Lancaster and the ‘Centre for Time Use Research’ at the University of Oxford.

In addition to my post at Bristol I am an Adjunct Professor at the National Consumer Research Centre (SIFO) in Oslo, Visiting Professor of Sociology at Copenhagen University, and Honorary Professor of Sociology at the University of Manchester. I am a member of the ESRC Grant Assessment Panel (Panel B), Editorial Board for the Journal of Sustainable Production and Consumption (Elsevier), and was elected as a Fellow of the Academy of Social Sciences in 2018.


The core focus of my research is the study of consumption, its role in organizing everyday lives and its significance in processes of societal change. My research has made contributions to a number of critical debates. (1) My early work explored the role that consumption plays in forging senses of identity, community, belonging and social distinction. (2) I have led on a number of research projects that explored the changing contemporary home, domestic spaces and technologies, with a particular interest in the relationship between materiality, innovation and everyday social practices. A key concern is how resource intensive practices come to be taken-for-granted as normal (i.e. processes of normalization) (3) A further focal area of my work has been the changing temporal organization of daily life, developing theories focused on the coordination of people and of social practices. This research explores senses of time pressure, the speeding up of daily life, and how both time and consumption are ‘mobilised’ in accounts of societal problems. (4) A further feature of my work has been comparative analysis, examining the changing patterns of consumption across European and North American societies.

While these four areas of my research remain important, much of my recent focus has been on sustainable consumption. Here, my work has explored the synergies and tensions between different disciplinary-based theoretical understandings and applications of consumption; developed critiques of ‘consumer behavior’ in policy framings of sustainability; extended a focus on food consumption as a critical substantive challenge for sustainability; and has begun to develop new theoretical lenses (through theories of practice) for understanding processes of social change with respect to the relationships between production and consumption systems. I am particularly interested in shifting modes of provision (i.e. how goods and services are provisioned by the state, the market, through households and inter-personal relationships, and by civil society groups), and the potential of such shifts for both reducing the resource-intensity of everyday lives and the capacity for tackling issues around social inequality and well being.

I welcome all enquiries for Postgraduate and Postdoctoral research supervision that connect with my research interests above.

Fields of interest

Consumption, Sustainability, Innovation, Social Change, Social , Systems of Provision, Time and Temporalities, Demand

Latest publications

  1. Southerton, D & Welch, D, 2019, ‘After Paris: transitions for sustainable consumption’. Sustainability: Science, Practice and Policy, vol 15., pp. 31-44
  2. Southerton, D & Evans, D, 2017, ‘Consumption policies within different theoretical frameworks’. in: Routledge Handbook on Consumption. Taylor & Francis Group, pp. 204-214
  3. Mylan, J & Southerton, D, 2017, ‘Following the action: An approach for studying the coordination of practice’.
  4. Mylan, J & Southerton, D, 2017, ‘The Social Ordering of an Everyday Practice: The Case of Laundry’. Sociology.
  5. Dasgupta, P, Southerton, D, Ulph, A & Ulph, D, 2016, ‘Consumer Behaviour with Environmental and Social Externalities: Implications for Analysis and Policy’. Environmental and Resource Economics, vol 65., pp. 191-226
  6. Monreal, AC, McMeekin, A & Southerton, D, 2016, ‘Beyond acquisition: Exploring energy consumption through the appreciation and appropriation of domestic lighting in the UK’. Sustainable Production and Consumption, vol 7., pp. 37-48
  7. Southerton, D & Welch, D, 2016, ‘New Directions in Sustainable Consumption’. Discover Society/Social Research Publications, United Kingdom
  8. Southerton, D & Welch, D, 2016, ‘Sustainable Consumption: New Directions’. Discover Society
  9. Southerton, D & Mylan, J, 2016, ‘Are we too busy to be sustainable?’. Discover Society.
  10. Geels, FW, McMeekin, A, Mylan, J & Southerton, D, 2015, ‘A critical appraisal of Sustainable Consumption and Production research: The reformist, revolutionary and reconfiguration positions’. Global Environmental Change, vol 34., pp. 1-12
  11. Southerton, D & Yates, L, 2015, ‘Exploring food waste through the lens of social practice theories: some reflections on eating as a compound practice’. in: Karin M Ekstrom (eds) Waste Management and Sustainable Consumption. Routledge, London, pp. 133-149
  12. Southerton, D & Welch, D, 2015, ‘Rethinking the Role of Individuals’ Behaviours in Sustainable Consumption’. Natural Environment Research Council
  13. Southerton, D & Ulph, A, 2014, ‘Sustainable Consumption: Multi-Disciplinary Perspectives in Honour of Professor Sir Partha Dasgupta’. Oxford University Press
  14. Southerton, D, 2013, ‘Habits, routines and temporalities of consumption: From individual behaviours to the reproduction of everyday practices’. Time & Society, vol 22., pp. 335-355
  15. Panzone, LA, Wossink, A & Southerton, D, 2013, ‘The design of an environmental index of sustainable food consumption: A pilot study using supermarket data’. Ecological Economics, vol 94., pp. 44-55
  16. McMeekin, A & Southerton, D, 2012, ‘Sustainability transitions and final consumption: Practices and socio-technical systems’. Technology Analysis and Strategic Management, vol 24., pp. 345-361
  17. Southerton, D, Olsen, W, Warde, A & Cheng, SL, 2012, ‘Practices and trajectories: A comparative analysis of reading in France, Norway, the Netherlands, the UK and the USA’. Journal of Consumer Culture, vol 12., pp. 237-262
  18. Warde, A & Southerton, D, 2012, ‘The Habits of Consumption’. Helsinki Collegium of Advanced Studies
  19. Southerton, D, Mendez, CD & Warde, A, 2012, ‘Behavioural Change and the Temporal Ordering of Eating Practices: A UK–Spain Comparison’. International Journal of Sociology of Agriculture and Food, vol 19., pp. 19-36
  20. Evans, D, McMeekin, A & Southerton, D, 2012, ‘Sustainable Consumption, behaviour change policies, and theories of practice’. COLLeGIUM: Studies across Disciplines in the Humanities and Social Sciences.
  21. Southerton, D, 2012, ‘Consumption’. British Sociological Association Online, Sage..
  22. Southerton, D & Warde, A, 2012, ‘Social Sciences and Sustainability’. in: The Habits of Consumption., pp. 1-25
  23. Southerton, D, 2011, ‘Convenience’. in: Encyclopedia of Consumer Culture. SAGE Publications Ltd, Thousand Oaks, Ca, pp. 355-258
  24. Southerton, D, 2011, ‘Consumer Culture and Personal Life’. in: Sociology of Personal Life. Palgrave Macmillan Ltd., London
  25. Southerton, D, 2011, ‘Encyclopedia of Consumer Culture’. SAGE Publications Inc.
  26. Southerton, D, McMeekin, A & Evans, D, 2011, ‘International review of behaviour change initiatives’.
  27. Southerton, D, 2011, ‘Running Out of Time’. in: Sociology of Personal Life. Palgrave Macmillan Ltd., London
  28. Southerton, D, 2010, ‘Re-ordering temporal rhythms: coordinating daily practices in the UK in 1937 and 2000’.
  29. Southerton, D, 2010, ‘Habits and everyday life: a practice-based approach to food consumption’.
  30. Southerton, D, 2010, ‘Bad habits die hard or do they?’.
  31. Southerton, D, 2010, ‘Sustainable food consumption: the temporalities of eating practices’.
  32. Southerton, D, 2009, ‘Changing Times: quantitative analyses of time use’. in: Doing Social Science. Palgrave Macmillan Ltd., London, pp. 59-79
  33. Southerton, D, 2009, ‘Communities of Consumption: Place, Geographical Mobility and Identification’. VDM Verlag
  34. Southerton, D, 2009, ‘Temporal rhythms: comparing daily lives of 1937 with those of 2000 in the UK’. in: Rick Wilk (eds) Time, Consumption and Everyday Life. Berg Publishers, Oxford, pp. 49-63
  35. Munasinghe, M, Dasgupta, P, Southerton, D, McMeekin, A & Bows, A, 2009, ‘Consumers, business and climate change: Copenhagen 2009’.
  36. Southerton, D & Gronow, J, 2009, ‘Consumption and Leisure in Europe’. in: Stefen Immerfell (eds) Handbook of European Societies: Social Transformations in the 21st Century. Springer, London
  37. Southerton, D, 2008, ‘Re-thinking time and consumption: towards a conceptual framework and four theoretical approaches for examining the temporalities of daily life’.
  38. Southerton, D, 2008, ‘Exploring the changing temporalities of everyday life: multiple methods of attack’.
  39. Southerton, D, 2008, ‘'Exploring the changing temporalities of everyday life: multiple methods of attack’.
  40. Southerton, D, 2008, ‘Co-ordinating time: quality time, togetherness and changing patterns of eating in the UK’.
  41. Warde, A, Cheng, SL, Olsen, W & Southerton, D, 2007, ‘Changes in the practice of eating: A comparative analysis of time-use’. Acta Sociologica, vol 50., pp. 363-385
  42. Cheng, SL, Olsen, W, Southerton, D & Warde, A, 2007, ‘The changing practice of eating: Evidence from UK time diaries, 1975 and 20001’. British Journal of Sociology, vol 58., pp. 39-61
  43. Hand, M, Shove, E & Southerton, D, 2007, ‘Home extensions in the United Kingdom: Space, time, and practice’. Environment and Planning D: Society and Space, vol 25., pp. 668-681
  44. Southerton, D, 2007, ‘Time Pressure, Technology and Gender: the conditioning of temporal experiences in the UK’. Equal Opportunities International., pp. 113
  45. McMeekin, A & Southerton, D, 2007, ‘Innovation and Final Consumption: social practices, instituted modes of provision and intermediation’. Centre for Research on Innovation and Competition
  46. Southerton, D, 2007, ‘Re-ordering temporal rhythms: co-ordinating daily practices in the UK in 1937 and 2000’.
  47. Southerton, D, 2007, ‘Paterson, Consumption and Everyday Life’. Journal of Consumer Culture, vol 7., pp. 134-136
  48. Southerton, D, 2007, ‘Key Findings - Cultures of Consumption: a comparative analysis’.
  49. Southerton, D, Warde, A, Cheng, S-L & Olsen, W, 2007, ‘Trajectories of time spent reading as a primary activity: a comparison of the Netherlands, Norway, France, UK and USA since the 1970s’.
  50. Southerton, D, 2007, ‘Consuming Routines: rhythms, ruptures and the temporalities of consumption’.
  51. Southerton, D, 2007, ‘The changing temporal organization of life: reflections on comparisons of the 1937 Mass Observation Archive's 'Day in the Life of' diaries, and household interviews from 2000’.
  52. Southerton, D, 2006, ‘Analysing the temporal organization of daily life: Social constraints, practices and their allocation’. Sociology, vol 40., pp. 435-454
  53. Warde, A, Southerton, D & Olsen, W, 2006, ‘Diffusion of Cultures of Consumption: a comparative analysis’. Birkbeck College, University of London
  54. Southerton, D, 2006, ‘Consumption and social practices rather than autonomous users’.
  55. Southerton, D, 2006, ‘The social ordering of Daily Practices: time, technology and daily life’.
  56. Gronow, J & Southerton, D, 2006, ‘Consumption and Leisure in European Societies: trends and trajectories’. in: host publication.
  57. Southerton, D, 2006, ‘Provisioning and Consumption’. in: George Ritzer (eds) Blackwells Encyclopedia of Sociology., pp. 748-750
  58. Southerton, D, 2006, ‘Cook, The Commodifiction of Childhood: the children's clothing industry and the rise of the child consumer’. British Journal of Sociology, vol 57., pp. 716-717
  59. Southerton, D & Warde, A, 2006, ‘Constructing classifications of consumption: evidence from analysis of changing household expenditure categories in National surveys since the 1970s in Norway, the USA and UK’.
  60. Southerton, D, 2006, ‘'Coordinating daily practices: time, convenience devices and gender’.
  61. Hand, M, Shove, E & Southerton, D, 2005, ‘Explaining showering: A discussion of the material, conventional, and temporal dimensions of practice’. Sociological Research Online, vol 10.
  62. Southerton, D & Tomlinson, M, 2005, ‘'Pressed for time' - The differential impacts of a 'time squeeze'’. Sociological Review, vol 53., pp. 215-239
  63. Southerton, D, Shove, E & Warde, A, 2005, ‘Sustainable Domestic Technologies: changing practice, technology and convention’. ESRC
  64. Southerton, D, 2005, ‘Performing family and making homes: space, time and practices’.
  65. Southerton, D, 2005, ‘Water and The Organisation of Everyday Life’.
  66. Olsen, WK, Southerton, D & Warde, A, 2005, ‘Differences in Practices of Food Consumption: Analysis of the Diffusion of Consumer Culture using Multi-national Time-use Data 1975-2001’.
  67. Southerton, D, 2005, ‘Home extensions: consumption, space and practice’.
  68. Warde, A & Southerton, D, 2005, ‘Time, money and change in the practice of eating’.
  69. Southerton, D, 2005, ‘The Time Pressures of Consumption’.
  70. Southerton, D, 2005, ‘Consumption, domestic technologies and domestic spaces: some trends and ideas’.
  71. Southerton, D, 2005, ‘The temporal organisation of daily life: social constraints, composite practices and allocation’. in: E Shove (eds) Manufacturing Leisure: Innovations in happiness, well-being and fun. National Consumer Research Centre
  72. Martens, L, Southerton, D & Scott, S, 2004, ‘Bringing children (and parents) into the sociology of consumption: Towards a theoretical and empirical agenda’. Journal of Consumer Culture, vol 4., pp. 155-182
  73. Southerton, D, Chappells, H & Van Vliet, B, 2004, ‘Sustainable consumption: the implications of changing infrastructures of provision’. Edward Elgar Publishing
  74. Nelson, S & Southerton, D, 2004, ‘I'm just a teenage dirt bag, baby!’. Report for Environmental Campaigns limited
  75. Southerton, D, Warde, A & Hand, M, 2004, ‘The Limited Autonomy of the Consumer: Implications for Sustainable Consumption’. in: Bas van Vliet (eds) Sustainable Consumption: the implications of changing infrastructures of provision. Edward Elgar Publishing, pp. 32-48
  76. Southerton, D, 2004, ‘Cultural capital, social networks and social contexts: cultural orientations toward spare time practices in a New Town’. in: David Morgan (eds) Social Networks and Social Exclusion: Sociological and Policy Issues. Ashgate Publishing Ltd.
  77. Southerton, D, 2003, ‘‘Squeezing Time’: Allocating Practices, Coordinating Networks and Scheduling Society’. Time & Society, vol 12., pp. 5-25
  78. Hand, M, Shove, E & Southerton, D, 2003, ‘Explaining Daily Showering: A discussion of policy and practice’. Economic and Social Research Council
  79. Southerton, D, 2002, ‘Gottdeiner, New Forms of Consumption: consumers, culture and commodification’. Journal of Consumer Culture, vol 2., pp. 140-142
  80. Southerton, D, 2002, ‘‘Us’ and ‘Them’: identification and class boundaries’’. Soundings: a Journal of Politics and Culture., pp. 133
  81. Southerton, D & Outherton, D, 2002, ‘Gershuny, Changing times: work and leisure in postindustrial society’. Burna, vol 53., pp. 500-501
  82. Southerton, D, 2002, ‘Boundaries of 'Us' and 'Them': Class, mobility and identification in a new town’. Sociology, vol 36., pp. 171-193
  83. Southerton, D, Shove, E, Warde, A & Deem, R, 2001, ‘The social worlds of caravaning: objects, scripts and practices’. Sociological Research Online, vol 6.
  84. Southerton, D, 2001, ‘Consuming kitchens: Taste, context and identity formation’. Journal of Consumer Culture, vol 1., pp. 179-203
  85. Southerton, D, 2001, ‘Ordinary and Distinctive Kitchens; or a kitchen is a kitchen is a kitchen’. in: Alan Warde (eds) Ordinary Consumption. Routledge
  86. Shove, E & Southerton, D, 2000, ‘Defrosting the Freezer: from novelty to convenience. A story of normalization’. Journal of Material Culture, vol 5., pp. 301
  87. Southerton, D, 1997, ‘Slater, Consumer Culture and Modernity’. Unknown Journal, vol 45., pp. 532-534
  88. Southerton, D, 1995, ‘Pierre Bourdieu: Habitus, Field and the Home’.

Full publications list in the University of Bristol publications system

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