Professor Dale Southerton
Professor in Sociology of Consumption and OrganisationSchool of Management
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.
Time, Consumption and the Coordination of Everyday Life
- Authored book
Sustainability: Science, Practice and Policy
- E-pub ahead of print
Routledge Handbook on Consumption
- Chapter in a book
- Other contribution