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Durham University

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Staff Profile

Professor Simone Abram, DPhil MSt BSc/MEng SFHEA

DEI Co-Director in the Durham Energy Institute

(email at


At Durham, I direct the Masters in Energy and Society, and I am a co-Director of the Durham Energy Institute. From 2016 to 2021, I am also a researcher at the National Centre for Energy Systems Integration (CESI), a £5m 5-year, 5-university research centre. My role in CESI is to have a social-science input into integrated energy modelling and to bring an STS (Science, Technology, Society) approach to energy systems integration, This entails bringing anthropological methods and perspectives to the process and conceptualisation of energy modelling, paying attention to the broader societal and ethical issues that may arise out of, or as a consequence of systems-modelling.

From 2016 to 2019, I am also responsible for a European project on People-centred Development Approaches in Practical and Learning Environments (PEOPLE), funded through the Erasmus+ programme. With Professor Sandra Bell and Dr Maria Salaru, we will work with students in collaboration with a telecare company on the design of their products and services. See for further details

I recently helped to found a new European network on energy anthropology under the auspices of the European Association of Social Anthropologists (EASA). Our blog can be found at .

I have also recently co-founded a new international network on Energy Ethics, with colleagues at the Utrecht Ethics Institute, and at Eindhoven and Karlsruhe technical universities.

In addition, I am a member of the EASA Future Anthropology Network. And I am series editor of the Berghahn Public and Applied Anthropology series, with Prof Sarah Pink.

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 perspective. 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.

Research Groups

Department of Anthropology

Research Interests

  • Energy and Society
  • Inhabitation and Property
  • Practices of Public Participation

Selected Publications

  • 1: Pink, S. & Abram, S. (2015). Media, Anthropology and Public Engagement. Oxford: Berghahn.
  • 2: Abram, S. & Weszkalnys, G. (2013). Elusive promises: planning in the contemporary world. Dislocations. Oxford: Berghahn.
  • 3: Abram, S. & Lund, K.A. (2016). Green Ice. Tourism Ecologies in the European High North. Palgrave Macmillan.
  • 4: Abram, S. (2011). Culture and Planning. Ashgate.
  • 5: Abram, S. (2014). The time it takes: temporalities of planning. Journal of the Royal Anthropological Institute 20(S1): 129 -147.
  • 6: Abram, S. (2012). The ‘Normal’ Cabin’s revenge: Building Norwegian (Holiday) Home-Cultures. Home Cultures 9(3): 233-256.
  • Murdoch, J. & Abram, S. (2002). Rationalities of planning: development versus environment in planning for housing. Aldershot Ashgate.
  • 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 (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.
  • 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, Simone (2016). Jokkmokk: Rapacity and Resistance in Sápmi. In Postcolonial Perspectives on the European High North. Huggan, G & Jensen, L Palgrave. 67.
  • 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. (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. (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). 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. (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. (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. (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.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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. (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.
  • 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, Simone & Norum, Roger (2016). An archaeology of Arctic travel journalism. Studies in Travel Writing 20(3): 272-284.
  • 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.
  • 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. & 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. (2005). Introduction: science/technology as politics by other means. Focaal 2005(46): 3.
  • 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. & Cowell,R. (2004). Learning Policy-The Contextual Curtain and Conceptual Barriers. European Planning Studies 12: 209-228.
  • Abram, S. (2004). Personality and professionalism in a Norwegian district council. Planning Theory 3: 21-40.
  • 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. (2005). Living through Regeneration. 28 minute documentary film produced in collaboration with Claire Allam and funded through LDMU Learning and Teaching Grant scheme.
  • Abram, S. (2002). Much Ado About Norway. 34 minute documentary film (VHS) produced in collaboration with Cinema Oslo.
  • 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.

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Media Contacts

Available for media contact about:

  • Anthropology: Energy, ethics and integration