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Dominic Duckett

Staff picture: Dominic Duckett
Social, Economic and Geographical Sciences
Social, Economic and Geographical Sciences
Social Researcher on Risk
dominic.duckett@hutton.ac.uk
+44 (0)344 928 5428 (*)

The James Hutton Institute
Craigiebuckler
Aberdeen AB15 8QH
Scotland UK

 

Dominic is a sociologist working with social theories of risk in the Social, Economic and Geographical Sciences Group (SEGS). He currently applies social theories of risk to diverse areas of socio-technical risk and environmental hazards which are core concerns to the James Hutton Institute. On-going work includes investigating food through a 'social amplification of risk (SARF)' lens within an interdisciplinary project aiming to improve dietary outcomes in Scotland both in relation to well-being and sustainability. His contribution involves a knowledge of the sociology of food and the development of ideas around 'a food risk society' following Beck.

Dominic also works extensively with issues relating to rural sociology. These include the Food and Nutrition Security (FNS) within an H2020 EU project (SALSA) http://www.salsa.uevora.pt/, Spatial Justice H2020 RELOCAL https://relocal.eu/, Digitisation in rural aeas H2020 DESIRA http://desira2020.eu/, surveillance of livestock through electronic tagging (as part of The Scottish Government's Centre of Expertise, EPIC) and agricultural knowledge and information systems (AKIS) within an FP7 project Prospects for Farmers’ Support : Advisory Services in European AKIS (PRO AKIS). Work also includes developing Scotland's strategic resource management by leading a project looking at water reuse for Scotland's Centre of Expertise on Waters (CREW) and developing visual research methods around participatory mapping using touch table technology. He has recently started researching as CO-I in a UKRI project making an assessment of the UK's food system supply chains post Covid-19. All of these research activities are related by an overarching interest in developing of social theories of risk to understand socio-technical phenomena. He is leading Scenario Planning exercises which he has previously applied to various contets.

Dominic joined the institute in 2012 after gaining a PhD from Lancaster University Management School where he studied ‘the social amplification of risk’ in the context of zoonotic disease. Previously he gained a Masters degree in Organisation Work and Technology also from Lancaster University. His first degree was in Philosophy from Exeter University.

Prior to his academic career Dominic had a successful and varied career in information technology. He worked in different sectors including the civil service, financial services and the technology sector. As an information systems specialist he became involved in risk management, risk audit and business continuity gaining professional certification through the Information Systems Audit and Control Association. This technology background is reflected in an ongoing interest in the role of modern technology in the shaping of risk in society.

Dominic has a strong interest in social theory built on a first degree in philosophy and a continuing interest in developing sociological insights.

Current research interests

Dominic’s interests are in the social aspects of risk with a particular, current emphasis on food within Theme 3 of the current RESAS program. The program takes an interdisciplinary approach teaming psychologists, sociologists, nutritionists, modellers and statisticians to better understand food cultures in which poor dietary outcomes combined with concerns over sustainability constitute an entrenched problem particularly within Scotland. Methods include concept mapping and agent-based modelling. Stakeholders are also central to the investigation and a range of qualitative methods are being deployed including interviews and focus groups.

Past research

Dominic has worked on public and institutional perceptions of zoonotic risk through the lens of the social amplification of risk framework (SARF) for a PhD. At Masters level he investigated social understandings of disaster and the relationship between disaster recovery plans as artefacts and the actual practices evident in the wake of a disaster. He investigated the Oklahoma City bombing (1995) as a site where disaster recovery was socially constructed. His post doctoral research includes working on agricultural production, strategic resource management, knowledge systems and visual research methods.


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The James Hutton Research Institute is the result of the merger in April 2011 of MLURI and SCRI. This merger formed a new powerhouse for research into food, land use, and climate change.