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Sociology: People


Isabelle Darmon

Isabelle Darmon
Dr Isabelle Darmon
Lecturer in Sociology
6.27 Chrystal Macmillan Building 15a George Square Edinburgh UK EH8 9LD
+44 (0)131 651 1574
Research Interests
Sociology of food, sociology of music, Marx, Weber, Cultural Sociology, Environmental Sociology, Sociology of Sustainability, Dynamics of capitalism

Office hours

Tuesdays 15:00 - 17:00


  • PhD in Sociology, University of Manchester
  • MSc Politics and Sociology, Birkbeck College, University of London
  • MA Hautes Etudes Commerciales (HEC Paris), France

Courses convened and taught

Sustainable Development 1A (convening and teaching)

Sustainable Development 2A (contribution to teaching) (convened by Rachel Howell)

Sociology 2A (contribution to teaching) (convened by Hugo Gorringe)

The Social Life of Food (co-convening with Dr Niamh Moore, teaching)

Global Environment: Key Issues (contribution to teaching) (convened by Elizabeth Bomberg)

Global Environment and Society (postgrad, convening and teaching)

Research interests and current projects

I joined Edinburgh after a late PhD at the University of Manchester, and a turn in my professional life (I was a consultant for the European Commission, on programmes against social exclusion, unemployment and social inequality for 15 years, managed European research projects in these fields, and worked from Paris, London, and Barcelona).

My current research is broadly in the domain of cultural sociology. I am interested in the contemporary dynamics of capitalism, environment and society; the shaping of everyday and cultural practices; and what so-called 'classical' authors (Marx, Weber, Simmel especially) have to say about these. 

I have two research pursuits at the moment – food and music. There are many ways in which the two can be linked together. My own work seeks to understand these (and potentially more) as orders of flavours and sounds, seeking to draw on Claude Levi-Strauss and Max Weber's conceptions of culinary and music orders. I also look at them as domains of practice both in their specificity and in the ways in which they are tied to broader dynamics of capitalism. In this exploration I am particularly drawing on Max Weber’s analysis of the rationalisation(s) of domains of practice and their creative tensions, as well as their ‘locking in’. I study notions of (embodied) disposition, adaptation, habituation – but also struggle and social transformation.

I have always been interested in cross-national comparative approaches and have recently edited a special issue of Anthropology of Food dedicated to comparison in food matters.

Recent/current research projects include:

  • Comparison between orders of flavours and orders of sounds;
  • Theatrical dialogue and the teaching of the classics in social theory. I recently organised a conference together with Dr Carlos Frade (University of Salford), the Max Weber group of the British Sociological Association staging imagined dialogues between Weber and Simmel (December 2015) and am now coediting a special issue of the Journal of Classical Sociology with a selection of the dialogues written for and performed at the conference. There is an after life to this conference, with the help of Andreas Zaunseder and Sofia Polychronidou, for the experimentation of theatrical dialogue with 2nd year Sociology students. 

I am co-editing the journal Cultural Sociology with my colleagues Lisa McCormick and Nick Prior.

I am a member of the Food Researchers In EDinburgh network (FRIED)! See here for more.


(2017) 'Theatrical Dialogue in Teaching the Classics'. Editors’ Introduction (with Carlos Frade). Special issue Weber/Simmel antagonisms: imagined dialogues. Journal of Classical Sociology 17(2) [in press]

(2016) 'Senses and sensibilities: stabilising and changing tastes in cross-national couples' (with Alan Warde), Food, Culture & Society 19(4), 705-722.

(2016) 'Of flavour and sound' Discover Society (36). 6 September 2016

(2016) Review of Julier AP, 2013, Eating Together: Food, Friendship, and Inequality, Urbana, University of Illinois Press, 256 p. Review of Agricultural, Food and Environmental Studies, published on line.

(2015) ‘Weber on music: Approaching music as a dynamic domain of action and experience’, Cultural Sociology, 9(1): 20-37 (special issue on 'The Social Space of Music') (First published online: 2013)

(2014) 'Introduction: towards dynamic comparative analysis' [Introduction to the Special Issue on Explorations in cross-national comparison of food practices edited with Alan Warde], Anthropology of food [Online], S10 | 2014, Online since 30 December 2014.

(2014) 'Under pressure – learning from the culinary and alimentary practices of Anglo-French couples for cross-national comparison' (with Alan Warde), Anthropology of food [Online], S10 | 2014, Online since 30 December 2014

(2013) 'Introduction to the Special Issue: Weber, the Press and Sociology, Then and Now' (with Carlos Frade) Max Weber Studies 13(2): 137-150.

(2012) ‘Beneath and Beyond the Fragments: The Charms of Simmel’s Philosophical Path for Contemporary Subjectivities’ (with C. Frade) Theory Culture & Society 29 (7-8): 197-217.

(2011) ‘No “new spirit”? Max Weber’s account of the dynamic of contemporary capitalism through “pure adaptation” and the shaping of adequate subjects.’ Max Weber Studies 11 (2): 193-216.

(2011) ‘“Conduct of conduct” or the shaping of “adequate dispositions”? Labour market and career guidance in four European countries’ (with C. Perez) (2011) Critical Social Policy 31 (1): 77-101. 

(2009) ‘Extended review of Joachim Radkau, Max Weber: A Biography’ Sociological Review 57(3): 530-6.

Recent conference and seminar papers

(2015) 'Before ‘mediation’ – what does Weber’s sociology of music suggest for the current re-exploration of the notion of ‘mediation’'. 12th European Sociological Association conference, 25-28 August 2015, Prague

(2014)    ‘Jeunes couples et commensalité au prisme de la comparaison transnationale’, invited paper at the Journées d’Études Internationales « Alimentation et Âges de la Vie », 27-28 November, University of Lille

(2014) ‘Food formations under pressure: cooking, lunch provisioning arrangements and rules of commensality in Anglo-French couples as signposts for cross-national comparison’ BSA Sociology of Food Study Group Conference 2014, Food and Society, 30 June 2014, London.

Current PhD students:

- Shubhi Sharma, on Displacement from Protected Areas in India (with Radhika Govinda)

- Ming-Tse Hung, on Discourses on 'Real food' and Food Education in Taiwan (with Steve Kemp)

- Yahti Mohammad Miharja, on Housing, the State and Dispossession in Singapore (with Lilli Riga)

- Chun-Ming Huang, on Music, mediation and Cultural Practice: Taiwanese Popular Music in China (with Nick Prior)

Topics interested in supervising

I would welcome proposals from research students with interests: - in the sociology of food and everyday consumption practices; - in critical perspectives on sustainability and sustainable lifestyles and in the politics of sustainability; - in the sociology of music and theoretical developments in cultural sociology; - in Weber, Simmel, and the beginnings of German sociology.

If you are interested in being supervised by Isabelle Darmon, please see the links below for more information:

PhD in Sociology; MSc (R) Sociology