Dr Fiona Spotswood

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About me

I am a senior lecturer in marketing at Bristol Business School with a particular interest in social research. My areas of research expertise are twofold. Firstly, I explore the sociology of consumption, particularly using practice theory. Projects in this stream include qualitative studies into the use of Strava and wearable technology by runners, the use of material goods and consumption talk by Punjabi immigrants, and the talk about materialism by children across Europe. The second stream of my research is behaviour change. I have edited a recently published book entitled 'Beyond Behaviour Change' and lead a seminar series (funded by the ESRC) with the same title. This research explores different cross-cutting issues in behaviour change, such as the role of marketing and 'big business' on creating and solving society's wicked problems, the relationship between behaviour change activities promoting children's phsical activity and their positive/negative body image, the importance and difficulties of interdisicplinarity in behaviour change and the significance of the evidence-policy gap in policy making. Particularly, I am interested in bringing insights from social practice theoretical research into the behaviour change space.

I would welcome applications from potential PhD candidates wishing to explore areas which fit within my areas of interest and expertise. I have experience supervising students to completion across different faculties and using different methodologies. I am particularly interested in expressions of interest from students looking to explore existing conventions around behaviour change from a practice theoretical perspective. I have an expertise in ethnographic and qualitative methods but am open to suggestions of mixed methods from students who have seriously considered methodological rigor and fit. If you are interested in having a conversation about a possible PhD project please get in touch.

Current PhD supervisions:

  1. Year 2 of full time PhD – ethnographic study of 'fast fashion' consumers. A study of consumer identity and behaviour.
  2. Year 1 of full time PhD – behaviour change study of water consumption. Critique of existing interventions and exploration of methodologically and theoretically innovative options for the water industry.
  3. Year 1 of full time PhD (pre RD1) – mixed method exploration of the role of corporate business in the promotion of positive body image.

Area of expertise

behaviour change, social practice, sociology of consumption, research methods.


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