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Published by: Spin Watch on Jan 30, 2011
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Dr Lydia Martens
Current position:
Senior Lecturer in Sociology, School of Criminology, Education, Sociology andSocial Work, and Director of Postgraduate Training (Social Sciences), Keele University.
Ph.D. University of Glasgow, M.A. Social Sciences (Joint Honours in Sociology andPolitical Economy) University of Glasgow.
Short Research Biog:
Interest in the sociology of consumption was initially connected with an interest in the emergingsociology of food and eating, which got me my first research job with Alan Warde in 1994, studyingeating out in England in a project that was part of the Nation’s Diet programme. As sociologists, wewere particularly interested in the social relations around eating, and I concentrated my efforts onthinking through the connections between commercial and domestic modes of delivery andconsumption. ‘The family’ and domestic relations were paramount here. After moving into lecturing positions and teaching courses on consumption and on food & eating, whilst also participating in theEuropean Sociological Association consumption network, I started shaping research ideas on domestickitchen practices and children’s consumption with Sue Scott and Dale Southerton. Whilst the domestickitchen practices project received funding, we did not manage to convince reviewers of the Cultures of Consumption programme about the urgency of researching the parent-child relationship throughconsumption practices in households with children of different ages. We were more successful incommunicating with European and British colleagues; something evidenced by the invitations to present lectures, and some of our and my central ideas were published in the Journal of Consumer Culture and the British Journal of the Sociology of Education (see below). Meanwhile, the domestickitchen practices research and associated content analysis of Good Housekeeping magazines resulted inwork on cleanliness, domestic care and caring, and a focus on children and safety. Because of frustrations with getting funding, I have been visiting The Baby Show since 2005 for ethnographicfieldwork on the commercial world around early parenthood and childhood. As observed in theChildren’s Plan, we know relatively little about how consumer culture and consumerism impact on theworld of the young child and the new parent. For an overview of my current research activities, seehttp://www.keele.ac.uk/research/lcs/membership/martens.htm.
Research Projects, Funding and Consultancies
Constructions of Adulthood and Early Childhood at The Baby Show. Ongoing ethnographic research,2005-2008 & content analysis of new parent magazines.Principal Investigator, ‘Domestic Kitchen Practices: Routine, Reflexivity and Risk’, ESRC-funded project (award no. RES000220014), 2002-2004.Research consultant on the comparative mixed methods analysis of the EU Trust in Food project, 2004and on the EU Welfare Quality project, 2004-8.
Selected Publications
Casey, E and Martens, L (Eds.) (2007) Gender and Consumption: Domestic Cultures, Intimate Life andMarkets, Ashgate.Martens, L and Casey, E (2007) Afterword: Theorising Gender and Consumption, in Casey, E andMartens, L (Eds.) Gender and Consumption: Material Culture and the Commercialisation of Everyday Life, Ashgate.Martens, L (2007) The Visible and Invisible: (De)regulation in contemporary cleaning practices. InRosie Cox and Ben Campkin (Eds.) (2007) Dirt: New Geographies of Cleanliness andContamination. London: I.B. Taurus.Martens, L and Scott, S (2006) Under the Kitchen Surface: Domestic products and conflictingconstructions of home. Home Cultures. Vol 3(1).Martens, L and Scott, S (2005) ‘The Unbearable Lightness of Cleaning’: Representations of DomesticPractice and Products in Good Housekeeping Magazine (UK): 1951–2001. Consumption,Markets and Culture. Vol 8(3): 371-409.Martens, L (2005) Learning to Consume - Consuming to Learn: Children at the interface betweenconsumption and education. British Journal of Sociology of Education. Vol. 26 (3) 343-357.Martens, L, Southerton, D and Scott, S (2004) Bringing Children (and Parents) into the Sociology of Consumption: Towards a theoretical and empirical agenda. Journal of Consumer Culture. Vol4(2):155-182.

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