Professor Simone Abram
DPhil MSt BSc/MEng SFHEA
|Professor in the Department of Anthropology||D118c|
|Director in the Durham Energy Institute|
How will we live in times to come? What can be done now to make the future liveable? My work has always been related to questions of change and time, from my early doctoral research (1994) on how people imagine a future (and perform it for tourists) under conditions of economic decline, to questions about how people engage with land-use planning and the workings and future-imaginaries of local government, to my more recent work on energy issues. All of my ethnographic work has been based in Western Europe – UK, France, Scandinavia, although I work collaboratively with colleagues across the world.
Alongside my recent work on energy, I have been conducting ethnographic research with Prof Marianne Lien of Oslo University on kinship and property (https://www.sv.uio.no/sai/english/research/projects/MATKIN/index.html) .
Current research projects include:
- ‘INCLUDE’, a research centre for socially-inclusive energy transitions, which is based at the university of Oslo;
- ‘GEMS’, Geothermal energy from mines and solar-geothermal heat, where we will work with post-coal communities on the implications and significance of re-using abandoned mines;
- ‘ICHP’, Zero-Carbon Emission Integrated Cooling, Heating and Power networks, where we will explore the socio-environmental conditions for siting hydrogen-hubs in urban areas;
- ‘Marlin Star’, Community Access to Stored and Transferrable Energy from Floating Renewables, where we have been working with communities in Gujarat and in Bangladesh to include them in infrastructure-design;
- ‘CESI’, the national centre for Energy Systems Integration, which ends in 2021, where my role was to bring an anthropological and STS sensitivity to the work of energy system modelling and focus particular attention on the ethical repercussions of system modelling work.
Much of my current work is interdisciplinary, working with engineers, mathematicians, philosophers, sociologists and geographers. I am on the management board of the Durham Arctic Research Centre for Training and Interdisciplinary collaboration (https://www.durham.ac.uk/research/institutes-and-centres/arctic).
I bring interdisciplinary approaches into teaching, too, through the MSc Sustainability, Energy and Development, which I lead with Dr Ben Campbell.
I helped to found the Energy Anthropology Network (hypotheses.com/ean), and am involved in the Energy Futures Network of the European Association of Social anthropologists. I am a member of the Fair Transitions Consortium (https://energy-ethics.net).
I am currently chair of the Association of Social Anthropologists of the UK.
I am happy to hear from prospective post-doctoral researchers or phd researchers who wish to work on energy-related topics from an anthropological or interdisciplinary perspectives. Please also contact me if you wish to work with me on issues related to local development or tourism development. My regional ethnographic experience covers Scandinavia (primarily Norway), France and England.
- Energy futures, and infrastructures
- Professional and expert practices
- Inhabitation and Property
- Government and bureaucracy
- 2021: Effectiveness of energy system models in local government policy making(£20761.32 from Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council)
- 2020: INCLUsive Decarbonization and Energy transition (INCLUDE) - a center for socially inclusive solutions through co-creation with stakeholders(£324096.38 from )
- 2020: MARLIN STAR Community Access to Stored and Transferrable Energy from Floating Renewables(£51999.00 from Innovate UK)
- 2016: Electrifying Anthropology(£13983.48 from Wenner-Gren Foundation for Anthropological Research)
- 2016: PEOple-Centred development approaches in Practical and Learning Environments (PEOPLE)(£93013.36 from European Commission)
- 2016: Systems Integration of Energy Supply and Demand(£209019.83 from Epsrc)
- 2020: Chair of the Association of Social Anthropologists UK:
- 2017: Fellow of the Royal Society of Arts:
- 2017: Visiting Professor University of Bergen :
- 2015: Founding editor of ASAonline, journal of the ASA: Founding editor of ASAonline, journal of the ASA
- 2013: Organising committee of IUAES: Secretary to organising committee of the World Congress of the International Union of Anthropological and Ethnological Societies, Manchester:
- 2013: Visiting Professor at University of Paris 8 (Saint Denis) and LAVUE (Laboratoire Architecture Ville Urbanisme Environnement):
- 2010: Honorary Secretary of ASA: Secretary to Association of Social Anthropologists 2005-2010:
Available for media contact about:
- Anthropology: Energy, ethics and energy futures
- Abram, S. & Lund, K.A. (2016). Green Ice. Tourism Ecologies in the European High North. Palgrave Macmillan.
- Pink, S. & Abram, S. (2015). Media, Anthropology and Public Engagement. Oxford: Berghahn.
- Abram, S. (2011). Culture and Planning. Ashgate.
- Murdoch, J. & Abram, S. (2002). Rationalities of planning: development versus environment in planning for housing. Aldershot Ashgate.
Chapter in book
- Abram, Simone (Accepted). Destination Development Performances, or How we Learn to Love Tourism. In Tourism Destination Development. Viken, Arvid & Granaas, Brynhild Routledge. 63-78.
- Abram, S (Published). Likhet Is Not Equality: Discussing Norway in English and Norwegian. In Egalitarianism in Scandinavia. Approaches to Social Inequality and Difference. Bendixsen S. Bringslid M. & Vike H. Palgrave Macmillan. 87-108.
- Pink, Sarah, Ortar, Nathalie, Waltorp, Karen & Abram, Simone (2023). Imagining energy futures: an introduction. In Energy Futures: Anthropocene Challenges, Emerging Technologies and Everyday Life. Abram, Simone, Waltorp, Karen, Ortar, Nathalie & Pink, Sarah De Gruyter. 10.
- Abram, Simone (2022). Electricity as a Field for Anthropological Theorising and Research. In The Palgrave Handbook of the Anthropology of Technology. Bruun, Maja Hojer, Wahlberg, Ayo, Douglas-Jones, Rachel, Hasse, Cathrine, Hoeyer, Klaus, Kristensen, Dorthe Brogård & Winthereik, Brit Ross Singapore: Palgrave Macmillan. 741-755.
- Abram, S (2020). Inheriting Kinship: Norwegian Holiday Property as Relational Practice. In Nordic Inheritance Law through the Ages. Holdgaard, M, Magnusdottir, A & Selmer, B Leiden: Brill. 251-271.
- Abram, Simone & Blandy, Sarah (2018). Ownership and belonging in urban green space. In Legal Strategies for the Development and Protection of Communal Property. Xu, Ting & Clarke, Alison Oxford: Oxford University Press. 177-201.
- Abram, S. (2017). Contemporary Obsessions with Time and the Promise of the Future. In Anthropologies and Futures: Researching emerging and uncertain worlds. Salazar, Juan Francisco, Pink, Sarah, Irving, Andrew & Sjöberg, Johannes London: Bloomsbury Academic. 61-82.
- Abram, S (2017). Learning to Meet (or How to talk to Chairs). In Meeting Ethnography: Meetings as Key Technologies of Contemporary Governance, Development, and Resistance. Sandler, J & Thedvall, R New York: Routledge. 46-68.
- Abram, S. (2017). Im/mobile method/ologies. In Methodologies of Mobility: Ethnography and Experiment. Elliot, A., Norum, R. & Salazar, N.B. Oxford: Berghahn Books. 195-200.
- Abram, Simone (2016). Jokkmokk: Rapacity and Resistance in Sápmi. In Postcolonial Perspectives on the European High North. Huggan, G & Jensen, L Palgrave. 67.
- Abram, S. & Pink, S. (2015). Introduction: Mediating Publics and Anthropology. In Media, Anthropology and Public Engagement. Pink, S. & Abram, S. New York: Berghan. 1-22.
- Abram, S. (2014). ‘Bias Binding’ Re-Calling Creativity in Qualitative Research. In The Craft of Knowledge: Experiences of Living with Data. Smart, C., Hockey, J. & James, A. Basingstoke: Palgrave Macmillan. 21-38.
- Abram, S. (2014). Rénovation urbaine et participation en Angleterre: enseignements et comparaisons. In Rénovation Urbaine en Europe. Deboulet, A. & Lelévrier, C. Presses Universitaires de Rennes. 85-96.
- Abram, S. & Weszkalnys, G. (2013). Elusive Promises: Planning in the Contemporary World. An introduction. In Elusive Promises: Planning in the Contemporary World. Abram, S. & Weszkalnys, G. Oxford: Berghahn. 1-34.
- Abram, S. (2012). ‘Planlegging i et Kulturperspektiv’ [Culural perspectives on planning]. In Utfordringer for norsk planlegging [Challenges for Norwegian Planning]. Aarsæther, N., Falleth, E., Nyseth, T. & Kristiansen, R. Høyskoleforlaget.
- Abram, S. (2010). Anthropology, Tourism and Intervention? In Thinking Through Tourism. Scott, J. & Selwyn, T. Oxford: Berg. ASA Monograph: 231-253.
- Abram, S. (2008). Public participation and the problem of exclusion. In Transparency in a New Global Order. Garston, C. & Lindh de Montoya, M. Cheltenham: Edward Elgar. 201-222.
- Abram, S. (2008). Transparency and Participation: Partnership and Hierarchies in British Urban Regeneration. In Transparency in a new global order: unveiling organizational visions. Garsten, C., & Lindh de Montoya, M. Cheltenham, Gloucester: Edward Elgar. 201-222.
- Abram, S. (2007). Participatory depoliticisation: the bleeding heart of neo-liberalism. In Cultures et pratiques participatives: perspectives comparatives. Neveu, C. Paris: l'Harmattan. 113-133.
- Abram, S. (2007). Loyalty and Politics: The discourses of liberalisation. In Professional Identities: Policy and Practice in Business and Bureaucracy. Ardener, S. & Moore, F. Oxford: Berghahn. 87-107.
- Abram, S. (2004). The Smell of Money: minor risks and olfactory sensibilities – the anatomy of a protest. In Facility Siting: Risk, Power and Identity in Land-use Planning. Boholm, Å. & Löftstedt, R. London: Earthscan. 72-88.
- Abram, S. (2003). Anthropologies in policies, anthropologies in places. In Globalisation: Studies in Anthropology. Hylland Eriksen, T. Pluto Press. 138-157.
- Abram, S. (2003). Gazing on Rurality. In Country Visions. Cloke, P. Harlow: Pearson. 32-48.
- Abram, S. & Vike, H. (2001). People out of Place? Perspectives on Participation. In Perspectives on Participation. Connelly, S. Abram, S. & Richardson, T. University of Sheffield, Department of Town and Regional Planning. 4-7.
- Abram, S. (2001). Amongst Professionals: Working with Pressure Groups and Local Authorities. In Inside Organisations: Anthropologists at Work. Gellner, D. & Hirsch, E. Oxford: Berg. 183-203.
- Abram, S. (2001). All that fuss over 100 houses: identities and moralities of building on land. In Identity, Ethnicity and Territoriality. Saltman, M. Oxford: Berg. 71-92.
- Murdoch, J., Abram, S. & Marsden, T. (1999). Technical Expertise and Public Participation in Planning for Housing: ‘Playing the Numbers Game. In Power and Participation: The new politics of British local governance. Stoker, G. London: Macmillan. 198-214.
- Abram, S. (1998). Anthropological Perspectives on Development. In Anthropological Perspectives on Development: Interests, Identities and Sentiments in Conflict. Abram, S. & Waldren, J. London: Routledge. 1-17.
- Murdoch, J., Abram, S. & Marsden, T. (1998). Planning by Numbers: migration and statistical governance. In Migration into Rural Areas: Theories and Issues. Boyle, P. & Halfacree, K. Chichester: Wiley. 236-251.
- Marsden, T., Murdoch, J. & Abram, S. (1997). Rural Sustainability in Britain: The Social Realisation of Sustainability. In The Handbook of Environmental Sociology. Redclift, M. & Woodgates, G. Cheltenham: Edward Elgar. 467-478.
- Abram, S. (1997). Performing for tourists in France. In Tourists and Tourism: Identifying with People and Places. Abram, S., Waldren, J. & Macleod, D.V.L. Oxford: Berg. 29-50.
- Abram, S. & Waldren, J. (1997). Tourists and Tourism. In Tourists and Tourism: Identifying with People and Places. Abram, S., Waldren, J. & Macleod, D.V.L. Oxford: Berg. 1-12.
- Abram, S. (1996). European Reactions to the Tourist Gaze: A view from the Deep Green Heart of France. In Coping with Tourists. Boissevain, J. Oxford: Berghahn. 174-203.
- Abram, Simone, Winthereik, Brit Ross & Yarrow, Thomas (2019). Electrifying Anthropology: exploring electrical practices and infrastructures. Bloomsbury.
- Abram, S. & Weszkalnys, G. (2013). Elusive promises: planning in the contemporary world. Dislocations. Oxford: Berghahn.
- Abram, S. & Waldren, J. (1998). Anthropological Perspectives on Local Development: Knowledge and Sentiments in Conflict. London: Routledge.
- Abram, S., Waldren, J. & Macleod, D.V.L. (1997). Tourists and Tourism: Identifying with People and Places. Oxford: Berg.
- Abram, S. & Lien, M. (2011). Introduction: Performing Nature at World’s Ends. Ethnos, 76
- Abram, S. & Weszkalnys, G. (2011). Planning in the Contemporary World. Focaal, 61
- Abram S. & Vike, H. (2003). Anthropologies of Governance. Norsk Antropologisk Tidsskrift (Norwegian Journal of Anthropology), 14
- Abram, Simone (2023). Decarbonising Tenants. Housing Finance International (HFI)
- Silvast, Antti, Abram, Simone & Copeland, Claire (2023). Energy systems integration as research practice. Technology Analysis & Strategic Management 35(3): 302-313.
- Abram, Simone, Atkins, Ed, Dietzel, Alix, Jenkins, Kirsten, Kiamba, Lorna, Kirshner, Joshua, Kreienkamp, Julia, Parkhill, Karen, Pegram, Tom & Santos Ayllón, Lara M. (2022). Just Transition: A whole-systems approach to decarbonisation. Climate Policy 22(8): 1033 - 1049.
- Silvast, A., Virtanen, M. & Abram, S. (2022). Habits Over Routines: Remarks on Control Room Practices and Control Room Studies. Computer Supported Cooperative Work (CSCW)
- Lazaro, L.L.B., Soares, R.S., Bermann, C., Collaço, F.M.A., Giatti, L.L. & Abram, S. (2022). Energy transition in Brazil: Is there a role for multilevel governance in a centralized energy regime? Energy Research & Social Science 85: 102404.
- Silvast, Antti, Laes, Erik, Abram, Simone & Bombaerts, Gunter (2020). What do energy modellers know? An ethnography of epistemic values and knowledge models. Energy Research & Social Science 66: 101495.
- Hanmer, Clare & Abram, Simone (2017). Actors, networks, and translation hubs: Gas central heating as a rapid socio-technical transition in the United Kingdom. Energy Research & Social Science 34: 176-183.
- Abram, S. (2017). Contradiction in contemporary political life: meeting bureaucracy in Norwegian municipal government. Journal of the Royal Anthropological Institute 23(S1): 27-44.
- Abram, S., Feldman Bianco, B., Khosravi, S., Salazar, N. & de Genova, N. (2017). The free movement of people around the world would be Utopian IUAES World Congress 2013: Evolving Humanity, Emerging Worlds, 5–10 August 2013. Identities: Global Studies in Culture and Power 24(2): 123-155.
- Abram, Simone & Norum, Roger (2016). An archaeology of Arctic travel journalism. Studies in Travel Writing 20(3): 272-284.
- Abram, S. (2016). Culture? And Planning? Planning Theory and Practice
- Abram, S., Acciaioli, G., Baviskar, A., Kopnina, H., Nonini, D. & Strang, V. (2016). Special Module: Plenary Debate from the IUAES World Congress 2013: Evolving Humanity, Emerging Worlds, 5–10 August 2013. Anthropological Forum 26(1): 74-95.
- Abram, S. (2015). IUAES World Congress 2013: Evolving humanity, emerging worlds, 5–10 August 2013. Critique of Anthropology 35(2): 205-219.
- Abram, S. (2014). Values of property (properties of value): capitalization of kinship in Norway. Journal of Tourism and Cultural Change 12(3): 253-266.
- Abram, S. (2014). The time it takes: temporalities of planning. Journal of the Royal Anthropological Institute 20(S1): 129 -147.
- Abram, Simone (2013). Modern fossils: response to Vaden and Salminen. Suomen Antropologi 2013(3): 57-61.
- Abram, S. (2012). The ‘Normal’ Cabin’s revenge: Building Norwegian (Holiday) Home-Cultures. Home Cultures 9(3): 233-256.
- Ween, G. B. & Abram, S. (2012). The Norwegian Trekking Association: Trekking as constituting the Nation. Journal of Landscape Research 37(2): 155-171.
- Abram, S. (2011). Kulttuuri ja yhdyskuntasuunnittelu – mitä antropologia voisi tuoda suunnittelun tutkimukseen. Finnish Journal of Urban Studies 49(2): 26-33.
- Abram, S. & Lien, M. (2011). Performing Nature at World’s Ends. Ethnos: Journal of Anthropology 76(1): 3-18.
- Abram, S., & Weszkalnys, G. (2011). Introduction: Anthropologies of planning-Temporality, imagination, and ethnography. Focaal: European Journal of Anthropology 2011(61): 3-18.
- Abram, S. (2007). Living Through Regeneration - Capturing Multiple Stakeholder Perceptions to Enrich the Qualitative Research Methods Curriculum. CEBE Transactions 4(2): 67-84.
- Abram, S. (2005). Introduction: science/technology as politics by other means. Focaal 2005(46): 3.
- Abram, S. & Booth, P. (2005). Culture, Place and Planning: a Case Study of Problem Based Learning. Transactions - Center for Education in the Built Environment 2(3): 42-60.
- Abram, S. & Cowell,R. (2004). Learning Policy-The Contextual Curtain and Conceptual Barriers. European Planning Studies 12: 209-228.
- Abram, S. & Cowell,R. (2004). Dilemmas of implementation: `integration' and `participation' in Norwegian and Scottish local government. Environment and Planning C: Government and Policy 22: 701-720.
- Abram, S. (2004). Personality and professionalism in a Norwegian district council. Planning Theory 3: 21-40.
- Abram, S. (2003). Antropologi, Styring og Forvaltning [Anthropologies of Governance]. Norsk Antropologisk Tidskrift (Norwegian Journal of Anthropology) 14: 53-69.
- Abram, S. (2001). Planning and public-making in municipal government. Focaal 21-34.
- Abram, S. (2000). Planning the Public: Some Comments on Empirical Problems for Planning Theory. Journal of Planning Education and Research 19: 351-357.
- Murdoch, J., Abram, S. & Marsden, T. (1999). Modalities of planning: a reflection on the persuasive powers of the development plan. Town Planning Review 70: 191-212.
- Murdoch, J. & Abram, S. (1998). Defining the limits of community governance. Journal of rural studies 14(1): 41-50.
- Abram, S. (1998). Class, countryside and the 'Longitudinal Study'. Journal of Rural Studies 14: 369-380.
- Abram, S., Murdoch, J. & Marsden, T. (1996). The social construction of `Middle England': the politics of participation in forward planning. Journal of Rural Studies 12(4): 353-364.
Other (Digital/Visual Media)
- Abram, S. (Published). Contributor to Savage Minds Blog, The Anthropology Project.
- Abram, S. (2005). Living through Regeneration. 28 minute documentary film produced in collaboration with Claire Allam and funded through LDMU Learning and Teaching Grant scheme. Film.
- Abram, S. (2002). Much Ado About Norway. 34 minute documentary film (VHS) produced in collaboration with Cinema Oslo. VHS.
- Abram, S. (2010). Lokalpolitisk praksis i norge (Political practice in Norway). Antropolognytt 2: 4-5.
- Abram, S. (2008). Reproducing the Norwegian Myth: Egalitarianism and the Normal. CTCC Research Papers 1.
- Abram, S. (2007). Bricks coming out of the ground: Reconstructing Norfolk Park.
- Abram, S. (2006). Living through regeneration. Learning from the experience of residents of Norfolk Park. Yorkshire and Humber Regional Review 16(3): 28-29.
- Abram, S. & Booth, P. (2004). Problem-based Learning in 'culture, Place and Planning. CEBE Case Study
- Abram, S. (2002). Enhancing Local Democracy – the Scandinavian Link. Environmental Governance February: 11-12.
- Abram, S. (2001). Community Planning in Norway and Scotland: Introduction and Findings.
- Connelly, S., Richardson, T. & Abram, S. (2001). Perspectives on Participation.
- Abram, S. (2001). Casting the net wide: lessons from Norway for community strategies. eg 8-10.
- Murdoch, J. & Abram, S. (1998). Building Jerusalem as a Suburb. Parliamentary Brief March : 50-51.
- Abram, S. (1998). Why do people have faith in planning? Rationalities and realities in the British planning system. Papers in environmental planning research 16
- Abram, S., Murdoch, J., Marsden, T. & University of Wales (1996). Participation in strategic forward planning in Buckinghamshire: the making of 'middle England'? Papers in environmental planning research 4
- Abram, S., Marsden, T. & Murdoch, J. (1996). Delimiting debate the bureaucracy of migration. Papers in environmental planning research 6
- Abram, S., Marsden, T. & Murdoch, J. (1996). Constructing Middle England: The politics of participation in forward planning. Papers in environmental planning research
- Abram, S. (1996). Findings: Middle Class Representation in Strategic Planning.
- Abram, S., Marsden, T. & Murdoch, J. (1996). Modalities of Planning: Arenas, Actors and Strategies of persuasion in the development plan review. Papers in environmental planning research 5
- Abram, S. (1994). Policy, Morality and the Art of Government: Review of the 2nd Biannual EASA conference. Anthropology in Action 1(3).
- Abram, S. (1994). Recollections and recreations tourism, heritage and history in the French Auvergne.