Exchange corner

Culture, Consumption and Production

About Us

The sociologists in this grouping are interested in consumer cultures in late-modern life, from the uses and abuses of public space and the exploitations and rewards of sex tourism, to the pleasures and markets for second-hand goods, to addictive consumption and the seductions and various problems of organized global sport. Those of us who are deeply interested in making sociological sense of issues of consumption and identity formation and the meanings and pleasures therein, must also be closely attentive, of course, to those who control and run the major institutions of public culture and who are directly involved in its production, regulation and economic constitution. In so doing, as Douglas Kellner has argued, situating individual and collective acts of consumption - which are often structured by well-defined rules and conventions - within the national and, increasingly, the global contexts that generate them, can do much to help illuminate their structures and meaning.

Research Themes

Our research in this area covers topics such as:

  • Consumption/production of space/place
  • Crime and the built environment
  • Climate change and building design
  • Sociology of gender, race and sexuality
  • The markets for sex and cosmetic surgery
  • Sex tourism
  • Embodied performances of identity and belonging
  • Second-hand markets
  • Job markets and decision making
  • Moral panics and public policy
  • Identity, emotion and control at work
  • ‘Dirty’ work
  • Addiction and consumption
  • Digital consumerism and technological change
  • Sports fandom
  • The behaviour and management of sports crowds
  • ‘Race’ and equality in sport
  • Identity and consumption issues around global sport
  • Local sports and leisure governance and issues of access
  • Mega-sports events, including for disability sport

Areas of PhD Supervision

We welcome applications from prospective PhD students who are interested in topics that connect to any of the themes active in this cluster. Your interests are our interests, so students keen to explore and expand their sociological imaginations in the fields of gender and embodiment, space and place, markets and decision making, work and consumption practices, problematized consumption, and sport and leisure, are urged to get in touch with us right away. We look forward to hearing from you.


Our academics involved in this area of research are:

Dr Edmund Chattoe-Brown

My interests in Exchange are at the intersection of decision-making and social structure of markets. I have published research on the money management of pensioners and how that supported corresponding lifestyles (including an agent-based model of lifestyle adaption). My long established interest in second hand markets arises from the contrasts between consumption as “individualised shopping” in a consumer society and the distinctive nature of less formally organised spaces like charity shops, boot sales and so on. I have recently published an agent-based model of another distinctive market, namely the long-term evolution of the book trade. My interest in these areas is supported by theories and methods such as network analysis (valued and devalued second hand goods move through networks from Sotheby’s at one extreme to rag merchants at the other) and innovation diffusion (the spread of second hand trade online through sites like amazon, abe and ebay.)

Dr Jerry Coulton

My interest in this area lies predominantly in the field of the consumption/production of space and place. This ranges from a theoretical approach to the production of space, but extends into investigation into how space is appropriated and used in contemporary society. I have researched and been published around the area of the role of the built environment in both general crime, but also more specifically in the 2011 riots. I am currently writing up the findings of a study into how climate change, manifested by recent floods in the UK, have impacted upon the way we purchase/design/manage spaces, both commercial and domestic. This is not a funded study, but there are plans for publication and for presenting to a larger audience that is not exclusively academic. I have been asked to present my findings to the ‘Planning for Climate Change’ Conference, hosted by the Government, to be held in 2016

Professor Jason Hughes

I undertake work in the area of ‘production’ and ‘consumption’. Production can mean many things in this context, but if we’re talking about cultural production, I have an interest in the concept of moral panics and the more general relationship between the media, behavioural standards and concomitant changes in public policy. Production might also have a more traditional industrial sociological meaning – i.e. work, organisations, labour, etc. – in which case I have a longstanding interest in those area, with particular interests in identity, emotion, and control at work – here I’ve written specifically on ‘dirty work’, ‘emotional labour’ and ‘emotional intelligence’. In relation to consumption, I’ve a long standing interest in problematised consumption, particularly the consumption of tobacco and the more general debates about addiction, substance use and abuse, and medicalisation. More recently, I’ve be interested in digital consumerism and technological change. A particular case in point is the ascendancy of wearable technologies, and their implications for ‘attentional ecologies’ and ‘technological distance’. My current plans include pursuing funding for a two year project on 'Wearable technologies, attentional ecology and technological distance: personal augmentation or colonisation'? I am always looking for good PhD candidates with interests in my areas.

Dr Jackie Sanchez-Taylor

My primary research interests are in the sociology of gender, race and sexuality with a special focus on the markets for sex and cosmetic surgery and the consumption contested commodities. My interests in sex tourism has led to ESRC funded research and published work on: the sexual exploitation of children within the tourist context; the informal and formal tourism sectors and the development of the informal sex industry; female sex tourism. My interests in cosmetic surgery has led to ESRC funded research entitled ‘Sun, Sea, Sand and Silicon’, on cosmetic surgery tourism and ethnographic research to explore the market for breast augmentations in the UK. My current work focuses on the embodied performances of identity and belonging through the developing market for cosmetic surgery and the politics of beauty, race and gender. I would be happy to supervise doctoral and MA students who are interested in exploring the intersections of race, gender and sexuality through a focus on sexuality, sex tourism, cosmetic surgery and identity.

John Williams

I have a range of interests in research on sport, physical activity and consumption. My work has tended to concentrate on football, but I am also interested in mega-events and other sports having been involved in a recent research project on the Special Olympics Summer Games held in Leicester in 2009. I have an enduring interest in fan behaviour and the management and control of sports fans but I am especially interested, currently, in questions around the changing nature of sports fandom and the new consumer practices that have grown up around sport. I also work closely with the national UK organisation Sporting Equals in research on the ways in which local public bodies and national governing bodies of sport provide access and services to marginal communities, especially people from BME backgrounds. I have just signed a contract to produce a comparative study (with Ramon Llopis from the University of Valencia) of the production and consumption of professional football in England and Spain. Finally I am interested in combining insights from history and sociology to try to make sense of current practices around the management, support and political economy of sport. I am an active sports fan, a season ticket holder at Liverpool FC. I am always looking for talented, imaginative, hard-working PhD students who share my research interests and who have a passion for sport and a deep intellectual curiosity about it.


Chattoe-Brown, E and Gabbriellini, S (forthcoming 2015) 'History, Histories and Book-Trade Networks: An Exploratory Agent-Based Model', in Hinks, John and Feely, Catherine (eds.) Historical Networks in the Book Trade (London: Pickering and Chatto).

Hughes, J. (2014) 'E-cigarettes and the "civilising" of smoking'. Cambio, 4(7): 169–181.

Hughes, J, Simpson, R., Slutskaya, N. and Balta, M. (2014) 'Sacrifice and distinction in dirty work: men’s construction of meaning in the butcher trade'. Work, Employment and Society, 28(5): 754–770.

Hughes, J, Critcher, Chas, Petley, Julian and Rohloff, Amanda (eds) (2013) Moral Panics in the Contemporary World. London: Bloomsbury Academic.

Sanchez Taylor, J, David Bell, Ruth Holliday, Meredith Jones, Elspeth Probyn ‘Bikinis and Bandages: An Itinerary for Cosmetic Surgery Tourism’, Tourism Studies Vol.11 No. 2, 137 - 153.

Sanchez Taylor, J, Meredith Jones, Ruth Holliday, David Bell, Olive Cheung, Emily Hunter, Elspeth Probyn (2014) ‘Facebook and Facelifts’ with. In Garth Lean, Russell Staiff and Emma Waterton (Eds) Travel and Transformation, Aldershot: Ashgate

Sanchez Taylor, J, (2012) 'The Power of Breasts: Gender, Class and Cosmetic Surgery’, Women’s Studies International Forum, Vol. 35. No.6:458-466

Sanchez Taylor, J, (2012) ‘Buying and Selling Breasts: Cosmetic surgery, Risk and Beauty Treatments.’ Sociological Review, Vol. 60. No.4:635- 653

Williams J and Carter N (2015) ‘The Special Olympics and Legacy’ in R. Holt & D. Ruta (eds.) The Routledge Handbook of Sport and Legacy Routledge , pp 271-283

Williams J. (2014) ‘Justice for the 96? Hillsborough, politics and English football’ In Football Hooliganism, Crime and Crowd Management. Editors: Hopkins M, Treadwell J. Palgrave Macmillan, pp. 273-295

Campbell P & Williams J (2014) ‘Can the “ghetto” really take over the county? “Race”, generation and social change in a local black sports club’ International Review for the Sociology of Sport (first published online 4 December 2013) DOI: 10.1177/1012690213514740

Campbell P & Williams J (2014) 'Race', politics and local football: continuity and change in the life of a British African Caribbean local football club', Sport and Society, 18 (4): 425-439

Williams J (2013) ‘We’re Weird and We Know We Are: sports fandom for the 21st century’ Yiannis Zaimakis & Nikos Kotaridis, (eds.) Football and Fan Communities: Contestations and Identity Politics, Athens, Plethron, pp 59-85

Williams J & Carter N (2013) ‘Offering something back to Society? Learning disability, ethnicity and sporting legacy’ British Journal of Learning Disabilities, (42) pp 214-220

Williams J (2012) ‘Walking alone together: The Liverpool Way, fan culture and “clueless” Yanks.’ Special issue of Soccer and Society 13 (3): 238-254

Carter N & Williams J (2012) ‘”A genuinely emotional week” Learning disability, sport and television: a case study of the Special Olympics GB National Summer Games 2009’ Media, Culture and Society 34 (2): 211-227

Williams J (2012) ‘Fans, consumers, hooligans and activists’ in H. Richards & D. Stead (eds.) The Cambridge Companion to Football, Cambridge University Press, pp. 198-212

Pope S & Williams J (2011) ‘Beyond irrationality and the ultras: some notes on English rugby union fans and the “feminised” sports crowd’ Leisure Studies 30 (3) 293-308

Williams J & Gould D (2011) ‘After Heysel: how Italy lost the football peace’ in Soccer in Society 12 (5): 586-601

Williams J & Hopkins S (2011) ‘Over here: “Americanisation and the new politics of football club fandom – the case of Liverpool FC’ Sport and Society 14 (2) pp. 160-174

Williams J (2011) ‘”Dark Town” and a “Game for Britishers”: some notes on history, football and “race” in Liverpool’ in D. Burdsey (ed.) Race, Ethnicity and Football (Routledge) pp 21-35

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