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about the programme

Consumption has returned to the centre of public affairs, government policy making, and intellectual life in recent years, in Britain as well as more globally. Consumption and related issues of consumers’ rights and interests, consumer culture and consumer policy inform today major debates about the future of democracy and the nation-state, wealth and welfare, economic governance, the role of new technologies and the environment, and the changing relationship of commerce and culture in contemporary societies.

Cultures of Consumption was a major, multidisciplinary Research Programme that sought to deepen our understanding of consumption and consumers, past and present, and to highlight political, economic, and cultural implications for the future. The £5m Programme was the first collaboration between the Economic and Social Research Council and the Arts and Humanities Research Council. More details of the programme’s aims and approaches can be found in the programme’s revised specification.

The programme was directed by Professor Frank Trentmann

The programme has funded 26 individual research projects

A programme of International Visiting Fellowships attracted 13 scholars from 7 different countries to the UK to contribute to the work of the programme

The programme also involved a large number of events including a series of public lectures

A wide range of publications resulted from the programme, from books to a series of working papers



For enquiries about the programme please contact Anna Marshall at the Economic and Social Research Council.

Phone: 01793 413030


Advisory Committee

Ms Frances Blunden
Principal Policy Advisor, Which?

Ms Anna Bradley
Expert on financial services

Paul Cann
Director of Policy, Help the Aged

Professor John Caughie
Professor of Film and Televison Studies, University of Glasgow

Professor Rachel Cooper
Director, Adelphi Research Institute for Creative Arts and Sciences, The University of Salford

Professor Martin Daunton (Chair)
Master of Trinity Hall, University of Cambridge, President of the Royal Historical Society

Mr Evan Davis
Economics Editor, BBC News

Professor Ben Fine
Department of Economics, SOAS

Professor Julia Hobsbawm
Chief Executive, Editorial Intelligence Ltd

Professor Tim Lang
Prof of Food Policy, Dept. of Health Management & Food Policy, City University

Mr Simon Lidington
Managing Director, The Insight Exchange

Mr Nick Macpherson
Permanent Secretary, HM Treasury

Mr Ed Mayo
Chief Executive, National Consumer Council

Professor Frank Mort
School of Arts, Histories and Cultures, University of Manchester

Ms Lucy Neville-Rolfe
Corporate Affairs Director, Tesco

Dr Don Slater
Reader in Sociology, London School of Economics


International Visiting Fellows

The Cultures of Consumption International Visiting Fellowship programme brought 13 scholars from 7 different countries to work as part of the research programme.




Uwe Spiekermann
Georg-August-Universität Göttingen, Germany


History of Nutrition/Eating in Germany in the 20th Century

October 2003 –
January 2004

Stephen Kline
Simon Fraser University,


Public Debates about Sedentary Lifestyle Risks and Media Saturated Childhood

February –
May 2004

Erika Rappaport
University of California, USA


Tea Parties: Britishness, Imperial Legacies, and Global Cultures

June –
August 2004

Richard Wilk
Indiana University, USA


Working Class Consumption and the Origins of Modern Consumer Culture

September –
December 2004





Adam Arvidsson
Film & Media Studies
University of Copenhagen, Denmark


Vices and Virtues: On the Social Production of Immaterial Values

January –
March 2005

David Goodman
Environmental Studies, University of California, Santa Cruz, USA


Scaling Reputation: Spatial Constructions of Quality and Value in Speciality Food Networks

April –
June 2005

Mark Bevir
Political Science
University of California, Berkeley, USA


Consumers as Citizens: Governance, History and Democracy

July –
September 2005

Susan Strasser
Dept. of History
University of Delaware, USA


Promotion and Product: The Case of Proprietary Medicine


September –
December 2005





Ferenc Hammer
Art Theory and Media Studies Institute, Eötvös Loránd University, Hungary


Desire: A Critical History of Blue Jeans in Socialist Hungary (1960-1990)


Bruce Williams
Institute of Communications Research, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, USA


Media Consumption & the Connection Between Public and Private Life


Michèle Ollivier
Department of Sociology
University of Ottawa, Canada


Cultural Diversity, Eclecticism, and Cosmopolitanism Tastes, Identity, and Status in Quebec Society


Roberta Sassatelli
Dipartimento di Discipline della Comunicazione, Università di Bologna, Italy (now at Universit` di Milano)

Critical Consumerism: Virtue, Responsibility and Consumer Choice


Daniel Cook
Department of Advertising, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, USA (from September 2007, at Rutgers University-Camden)

Edible Culture: Children's Food, Subjectivities and Commercial Meaning



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