ACCESS - Advancing Capacity for Climate  and Environment Social Science
ACCESS - Advancing Capacity for Climate  and Environment Social Science
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Professor Kate Burningham

Last modified: March 21, 2024
ACCESS Leadership Team

Professor of Sociology
University of Surrey


The sector(s) I work in: Academic



About the organisation(s) I've worked for

Organisation name:

University of Surrey

About my experience and expertise

Personal statement:

I am a sociologist who has worked for many years on issues of environment and sustainability. I have experience of working in multi disciplinary projects both with natural scientists and engineers and with other social scientists and also have experience of working alongside industry, NGOs and social enterprises as research partners. I use qualitative methodologies including photo elicitation methods and longitudinal approaches as well as interviews and focus groups. However I have an M.Sc. in social research methods and am used to working with researchers conducting survey work and GIS mapping.

Key topic areas of research or interest:

My current research interests focus on everyday life and the possibility of sustainable consumption, especially at points of lifecourse transition. In this I have engaged with groups including children and young people, new mothers and older people. Other areas of research interest and experience include the social construction of environmental problems (including local disputes about new developments and research on Nimbyism), public environmental knowledge (including work on industry and expert views of publics and public knowledge) and environmental inequalities (in pollution, neighbourhood amenity, flooding, heatwaves) .


“Two quid, chicken and chips, done”: understanding what makes for young people’s sense of living well in the city through the lens of fast food consumption Local Environment

Are Life course transitions opportunities for moving to more sustainable consumption? Journal of Consumer Culture

New motherhood: a moment of change in everyday shopping practices? Young Consumers

Understanding and practising sustainable consumption in early motherhood Journal of Consumer Ethics

Consumption junkies or sustainable consumers: considering the grocery shopping practices of those transitioning to retirement? Ageing & Society,

Managing the retention or divestment of material possessions in the transition to retirement: implications for sustainable consumption and for later-life wellbeing. Ageing & Society,

Ethics in context: Essential flexibility in an international photo-elicitation project with children and young people. . International Journal of Social Research Methodology,

Young people and environmental affordances in urban sustainable development: insights into transport and green and public space in seven cities. Sustainable Earth,

‘It came up to here’: learning from children’s flood narratives’
Children’s Geographies

‘Imagined publics and engagement around renewable energy in the UK’
Public Understanding of Science

Flood risk, vulnerability and environmental justice: evidence and evaluation of inequality in a UK context.
Critical Social Policy

‘“It’ll never happen to me”: Understanding Public Awareness of Local Flood Risk’
Disasters: The Journal of Disaster Studies, Policy and Management

Experiencing Environmental Inequality: The Everyday Concerns of Disadvantaged Groups.
Housing Studies,

Using the Language of NIMBY: A topic for research not an activity for researchers.
Local Environment

Young people, good life narratives, and sustainable futures: the case of Instagram. Sustainable Eartch

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