BSA conference paper: 'There is no food waste in Somalia': Immigrant perspectives on household sustainability in a global North city

Research output: Contribution to conferencePaper


Research on the intersection between environmental change and international migration has tended to focus on climate change as a driver of migration from the developing South to the industrialised North. Significantly less attention has been given to the cultural dimensions of adapting to climate change and environmental degradation at a time when many 'first world' cities are becoming more heterogeneous. This means that little is known about how culturally-specific notions of sustainability, premised on reducing the impacts of Western over-consumption, are understood by immigrants to global North cities.
In this presentation we discuss the findings of mixed-methods research that explored the environmentally significant household practices of 60 Somali immigrants living in Moss Side, Manchester, with equal participation from men and women, Discussions of practices focused on food provisioning, use of water and energy and following council regulated waste and recycling systems. Set against ambitious local government plans for cleaning and greening the
city, we discuss the way participants understand sustainability, how ideas around sustainability correspond to their past and present experiences of household resource use (i.e., in Somalia and the UK), how culture and religious
norms shape household practices, and gendered and generational differences in participants' responses to policy messages about household sustainability.
Our conclusions make a timely contribution to academic and policy discussions of household sustainability. We contend that the perspectives and practices of immigrants - a population traditionally overlooked in household
sustainability research - can make important contributions to more inclusive sustainability governance.
Original languageEnglish
Number of pages2
Publication statusUnpublished - 2019
EventBritish Sociological Associate Annual Conference - Glasgow Caledonian University , Glasgow, United Kingdom
Duration: 24 Apr 201926 Apr 2019


ConferenceBritish Sociological Associate Annual Conference
Country/TerritoryUnited Kingdom
Internet address

Research Beacons, Institutes and Platforms

  • Sustainable Consumption Institute


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