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Alan Warde


Personal profile


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). 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 worked on the sociology of consumption, sociology of culture, sociology of food and eating, and social stratification. Other affiliations included the ESRC-funded Sustainable Practices Research Group (SPRG) and the Centre for Research on Socio-Cultural Change (CRESC).

Since 2007 I have been a Professorial Fellow in the Sustainable Consumption Institute (SCI) which has provided the focal point of my recent activity. I have conducted several projects on food from within the SCI and currently I have just completed in a repeat study of eating out in Britain. A monograph will be published by Manchester University Press: Warde A, Paddock J and Whillans J, The Social Significance of  Dining Out: continuity and change. Manchester, Manchester University Press, May 2020. Other recent books include Consumption: a sociological analysis (Palgrave, 2017) and The Practice of Eating (Polity, 2016).

In addition, I have long been closely engaged in the European Sociological Association (ESA) Research Network on Consumption and with networks of social scientists working on food in Norway, France, Denmark, Spain, Italy, Sweden and Finland. I am currently a member of the Executive Committee of the ESA.

My current research projects include: programmes for promoting sustainable consumption, especially of food; an ESRC-funded project on changes in drinking habits in the British population (PI Petra Meier, University of Sheffield); conspicuous consumption among the British elite; the development of sociology in the UK; and the nature of sociological explanation.

I have held visiting positions in Adelaide, Mannheim, Sao Paolo, Paris and New York. I held the Jane and Aatos Erkko Visiting Research Professorship for Studies in Contemporary Society, at the University of Helsinki Collegium for Advanced Studies, during academic years 2010-12 and subsequently Guest Professorships, in the Department of Culture and Global Studies, Aalborg University, Denmark, and at Department of Food and Nutrition, University of Uppsala, Sweden. I was awarded an Honorary PhD at the University of Uppsala in 2019.

I am a past Chair of the Executive Committee of the British Sociological Association and have recently sat on the 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. I have evaluated sociological research in many countries. I am currently a Co-editor of Sociology: the journal of the British Sociological Association.

I am a Fellow of the British Academy and a Fellow of the Academy of the Social Sciences.

Research interests

Keywords: Consumption, cultural sociology, economic sociology, food and eating, social networks, social and cultural capital, social stratification, sustainable consumption.

Current substantive work is concerned with:

•             the sociology of eating, particularly change in habits in Britain, France and the USA, and the practice of dining out;

•             the sociology of consumption, especially the changing patterns of cultural consumption in the UK and the nature of consumer culture in Europe;

•             cultural capital, distinction and cultural practice in comparative perspective;

•             social class analysis;

•             the analysis of social change

•             the development of British Sociology.

Further information


Apart from supervision of doctoral theses and visiting doctoral and postdoctoral visitors I no longer have any teaching responsibilities


Expertise related to UN Sustainable Development Goals

In 2015, UN member states agreed to 17 global Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) to end poverty, protect the planet and ensure prosperity for all. This person’s work contributes towards the following SDG(s):

  • SDG 2 - Zero Hunger
  • SDG 3 - Good Health and Well-being
  • SDG 10 - Reduced Inequalities
  • SDG 12 - Responsible Consumption and Production

Research Beacons, Institutes and Platforms

  • Digital Futures
  • Sustainable Consumption Institute


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