David’s research focuses on the sociology, geography and anthropology of consumption with a particular interest in food and sustainability. He is fundamentally concerned with questions of value, which in turn entails a focus on the nature of exchange (in its various forms - economic and otherwise), and on related issues of ‘worth’ and qualities. Of particular interest are the ways in which the value of things, persons and practices are constructed and negotiated at the interface of economic, technological and cultural processes. Theoretically, his interest is in bringing theories of practice into closer dialogue with related traditions – principally ANT, conventions theory and governmentality perspectives. Substantively, he is interested in bringing understandings of consumption into closer dialogue with accounts of provisioning and political/ moral economy via a focus on the interlinkages in commodity chains, and on the role played by intermediaries. Empirically, this leads him in two different (but perhaps related) directions. Firstly, he is interested in how conventions are assembled and sustained (such expectations of ‘freshness’ in food systems). Secondly, he is interested in the ‘responsibilisation’ of the consumer and the cultural politics of food. In both cases, he is particularly interested in the role of retailers and supermarkets.
David has recently completed a number of externally funded research projects:
Prior to this, much of his previous research focused on how consumption relates to the dynamics of everyday life, domestic spaces and material culture. Here, he explored a number of substantive issues including food provisioning, waste, laundry, lighting and sustainable living. Parallel to this, he has engaged with the theory and politics of ‘behaviour change’ and considered the ways in which this agenda can be opened up to social scientific engagement and critique. David continues to work on these long-standing interests with colleagues at the SCI and the University of Sheffield under the auspices of an ESRC ‘Nexus’ grant (led by Dr Matt Watson).