I joined the University of Manchester in September 1999. My previous position was Professor of Sociology at Lancaster University, where I held my first permanent position after completing a Ph.D. on the British Labour Party at the University of Leeds. In the past I have conducted research on politics, social movements, cities, domestic divisions of labour, economic restructuring and the social structure of Britain.
On coming to Manchester I worked partly in the Sociology Department and partly as Co-Director of the ESRC Centre for Research on Innovation and Competition (CRIC). CRIC was integrated in the Manchester Institute of Innovation Research in 2006 at the end of its period of core funding from the research council. Research projects in CRIC focused on developing theories of consumption, with particular emphasis on food, and on economic sociology.
With other colleagues, in what is now the Sociology Discipline Area of the School of Social Sciences, I continue to work on the sociology of consumption, sociology of culture, sociology of food and eating, and social stratification.
I conduct much of my work in collaboration with others in Manchester in the Sociology Discipline Area of School of Social Sciences. Recent research work has been located with the ESRC-funded Sustainable Practices Research Group (SPRG) and with the Centre for Research on Socio-Cultural Change (CRESC). For a number of years I have been a Professorial Fellow in the Sustainable Consumption Institute (SCI) and that provides a focal point for much of my current activity.
In addition, I work extensively with groups outside Manchester. I am engaged closely in the European Sociological Association Research Network on Consumption and with networks of social scientists working on food in Norway, France, Denmark, Spain, Italy, Sweden and Finland.
I have held visiting positions in Adelaide, Mannheim, Sao Paolo, Paris and New York. During academic years 2010-12 I held the Jane and Aatos Erkko Visiting Research Professorship for Studies in Contemporary Society, at the University of Helsinki Collegium for Advanced Studies, Finland. I currently hold two Guest Professorships, at Department of Food and Nutrition, University of Uppsala, Sweden, and in the Department of Culture and Global Studies, Aalborg University, Denmark.
I am a past Chair of the Executive Committee of the British Sociological Association and am currently on the BSA Board of Trustees. I was a member of the ESRC Research Grants Board 2007-10 and a member of the Research Excellence Framework (REF) 2014 sub-panel for Sociology.