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Professor Nicky Gregson

Emerita Professor

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Emerita Professor in the Department of Geography


I returned to Durham University's Geography Department in October 2011, having left it in 1983. My previous appointments have been at Exeter (1983-84), Newcastle-upon-Tyne (1984-1990), and Sheffield (1990-2011).

Once upon a time I was a historical geographer. So, I used to work in archives. My PhD research was on the transition to agrarian capitalism in North-west England. If you dig around hard enough in the archives of Economic History Review, you will find an article on that. For reasons to do with needing a job, in 1986 I reinvented myself as an interdisciplinary social scientist, working on the interface between human geography and sociology. My first contemporary social science project was on waged domestic labour. It appears as the book Servicing the Middle Classes (Routledge, 1994). My main research interests are in the fields of 'recycling' and waste economies and consumption as devaluation, divestment disposal. The approaches that I take to those fields can be identified with traditions of work in material culture studies, cultural economy and STS and they typically involve working ethnographically. Taking an ethnographic approach to economy produces different insights to what frequently counts as economic knowledge; it highlights economy in action and as an achievement. This kind of ‘edgy’ economic work also focuses the spotlight on the spaces seldom seen, or economic borderlands. It is highlighted by some of my more recent work on logistics and the circulation and movement of goods as well as by my work on waste and recycling.

As an Emerita Professor I can no longer offer either PhD or post-doctoral positions.

Anyone else wanting to know any more or to get in touch with me at:

Research Interests
External Supervisions
Previous Supervisions

Awarded Grants

  • 2014: RF150321: Re:heritage. Circulation and marketization of things with history, Swedish Research Council, 2014-07-01 - 2017-12-30
  • 2013: RF150283: Illicit economies and the spaces of circulation, ESRC, 2013-08-01 - 2015-04-30
  • 2013: Transformative Research Funds(£50000.00 from ESRC)
  • 2012: Between waste and value: legality, materiality and models(£4951.00 from ESRC)
  • 2012: Energy from Waste: Making Markets from Anaerobic(£6607.85 from Epsrc)
  • 2012: Estimating baseline levels of re-use exchange activity via car boot sales(£10156.00 from DEFRA)
  • 2011: Photovoltaics for Future Societies(£298699.60 from Epsrc)
  • 2011: Projected Futures: thinking novel and emerging technologies through real world technological networks and social practices(£20679.73 from Epsrc)


Authored book

  • Gregson, N. (2007). Living with Things: ridding, accommodation, dwelling. Sean Kingston Publishing.
  • Gregson, N. & Crewe, L. (2003). Second-hand cultures. Berg.

Chapter in book

  • Gregson, N (2016). Asbestos. In Making Things International 2: Catalysts and Reactions. Salter, M University of Minnesota Press.
  • Gregson, N. & Crang, M. (2015). Waste, Resource Recovery and Labour: Recycling Economies in the EU. In Why the Social Sciences Matter. Michie, J. & Cooper, C. Palgrave Macmillan. 60-76.
  • Alexander, C., Gregson, N. & Gille, Z. (2013). Food waste. In The Handbook of Food Research. Murcott, A., Belasco, W. & Jackson, P. Bloomsbury. 471-485.

Journal Article

Supervision students