The University of East Anglia (UEA) is, to a certain extent, my natural academic habitat as I completed both my Undergraduate and (Integrated) Masters degrees at UEA prior to starting my PhD research. My Integrated Masters Degree was in Environmental Sciences, and included an array of social-science based projects and dissertations relating to environmental politics and environmental sociology. Over the final year of my integrated degree at UEA I became interested in and conducted research on sustainable consumption and its sociological hypostasis. However, as I soon became disillusioned with the dominant individualistic research, theorisation and policy approach to the sustainability issue, I returned to UEA to undertake further studies in the field via my PhD on ‘Sustainable Consumption in an Era of Economic Downturn’.
Key Research Interests
Sustainable consumption; Consumer Culture Theory; Social Practice Theory; Interaction Ritual Chains; ecological citizenship; sustainability transitions; community/grassroots transition innovations.
Explicit within recent theorisation on sustainable consumption is the desire to resolve the conflict between structuralism and approaches such as methodological individualism which have traditionally supported a linear model of promoting sustainable consumption. However, whilst there are various empirical applications of this theoretical stance, it has recently been proposed that new theorisation frontiers should be explored, with particular interest on utilising the ‘Interaction Ritual Chains’ framework devised by R. Collins (2004) in studying green practices within sustainability networks. Consequently, through my PhD research, I hope to extend insights into the applicability of this understudied theoretical framework in explaining green practices and transition pathways whilst working with sustainability communities/networks that are presently required to operate in an uncertain economic climate. As such, the economic crisis constitutes the second main pillar of my research; there is currently a sharp research dichotomy in terms of the effects of the economic crisis on sustainable communes and, consequently, there is an ever growing need to determine those cultural factors underpinning the success or failure of these networks. Moreover, given the challenging diffusion of the aspirations of such networks and their problematic long-term endurance, the research will help provide an empirically grounded conclusion on whether we should rely on community action to promote the sustainability agenda, and will scrutinise the validity of claims made by the New Economics Foundation suggesting that the complete disassociation from economic considerations and traditional monetary regimes is plausible.
Publications and Presentations
- Stephanides, P. (2012) ‘Life Without Money: Building Fair and Sustainable Economies’ book review. International Journal of Community Currency Research 16C pp.6#20107.
Research Group Membership
Supervisors: Gill Seyfang, Tom Hargreaves
Research groups: 3S (Science, Society and Sustainability) Research Group