'Lifestyles and Life-courses: The Social Context of Household Waste Management' (Mark Riley and Alan Metcalfe)
The 'Lifestyles and Life-courses: The Social Context of Household Waste Management' project is a three-year, Leverhulme Trust funded project undertaken by staff from Kingston University, London; the University of Exeter; the University of Portsmouth; and the University of Northampton.
Considerable research has focused on the willingness of households to participate in waste recycling schemes and identification of key motivations and barriers to participation, relating to various situational and psychological factors. This research has mostly overlooked two potentially important determinants of contemporary household waste management behaviour. First, evidence from studies of wider environmental behaviours indicate that activities such as recycling are framed by socially embedded practices linked to lifestyle groups with shared social contexts, world-views and aspirations. Second, studies of consumer behaviour stress the importance of individual life-courses and development of practices within specific temporally-defined social contexts. This research will develop these research agendas by using both quantitative and qualitative methods to explore synergies between lifestyle and life-course approaches to more effectively reveal the basis for current household waste management practices. It will build on evidence from the applicants’ previous research suggesting links between lifestyle groupings and age cohort, and will address the current gaps in research on waste management behaviour.
Conservation behaviour and changing farming practices (Mark Riley)
Drawing on an in-depth ethnographic methodology in the Peak District (UK) the project investigates the changing nature of agricultural practices, farmer knowledge(s) and contemporary nature conservation. Focussing on the case of hay meadow management the project considers the unique conservation status of this habitat and provides a critique of current conceptualisations of farm conservation behaviour.
The project focuses specifically on the changing nature of farm practices and moves beyond previously economic considerations to articulate the socially and culturally contingent nature of these practises and their evolution. Drawing on theoretical insights from studies on the sociology of science and critiques of knowledge and expertise the project investigates the conflict and interplay between standardised scientific 'expert' knowledges and the more tacit, experiential, 'lay' knowledge of the farmer in current nature conservation schemes.
In particular the project explores how farmer knowledge(s) may be more usefully incorporated into contemporary discussions of environmental change and conservation. Papers from this project have been published in Journal of Rural Studies, Landscape Research, Journal of the Oral History Society, Agricultural History Review, Social and Cultural Geography, and Environment and Planning A.
Landscape archaeology and community in Devon: an oral history approach (Mark Riley)
In conjunction with David Harvey (Grant holder, University of Exeter), this AHRC-funded project integrates techniques of oral history and cultural studies. Through interviews in the case study area of Devon, the project investigated landscape and social change during WWII, revealing a more nuanced account of landscape change and challenging more recent conservation initiatives.
A central aim of this project is to provide a more meaningful and democratic account of the landscape, thereby augmenting, challenging and animating the more traditional scientific information and meta-naratives of landscape change. Papers from this project have been published in International Journal of Heritage Studies, Interdisciplinary Science Reviews , Public Archaeology, and Social and Cultural Geography.
Urban Industrial Transformations: Barcelona and London (Simon Leonard and Carol Ekinsmyth)
This study (funded by the Generalitat de Catalunya) seeks to understand the processes underpinning urban industrial transformation in Shoreditch, London and Poblenou in Barcelona that have led to the creation of ‘clusters’ within the knowledge-based and creative/cultural industries. These industries are most important in Barcelona and London's post-manufacturing industrial revival offering the potential for informing public policy formulation and development, relating both to the promotion of local economic growth and to the development of sustainable living within major metropolitan regions. The study also represents the first stage in a wider project that investigates the social cost of this 'new economy' based urban regeneration. This research project is in association with the Universitat Autonoma de Barcelona. The UAB team is led by Professor Montserrat Pallares-Barbera. This project is currently in progress.
‘Micro-entrepreneuship and mumpreneurship: spatialities and practices’ (Carol Ekinsmyth)
This research project is investigating the spatialities and practices of UK mumpreneurs, a sub-group of female entrepreneurs who operate at the interface between paid work and motherhood. This group are increasing numerically, and are carving for themselves, a sub-culture of entrepreneurship. They have considerable policy-importance, not least because the UK government have recognised mothers as a group who need to be encouraged into business ownership. Before policy can be effective, policy makers need to understand some key aspects of this entrepreneurial activity.