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Liz Dinnie

Staff picture: Liz Dinnie
Social, Economic and Geographical Sciences
Social, Economic and Geographical Sciences
Qualitative Social Researcher
+44 (0)1224 395388 (*)

The James Hutton Institute
Aberdeen AB15 8QH
Scotland UK


I am a sociologist working as a qualitative social researcher in the Social, Economic and Geographical Sciences Department (SEGS). I lead the People and Places science group. I joined the Institute in 2009 following a post-doc position at the University of Sussex, on the project Queer Spiritual Spaces, an investigation into the spirituality of LGBTI people in non-mainstream religions. My undergraduate and postgraduate degrees were taken at the University of Aberdeen. My PhD looked at the relationship between claims to knowledge, authority and social order in a spiritual community. I live in Aberdeenshire.

Current research interests

My research interests are around social change, sustainability and justice, including food and climate justice. I am interested in the ways in which different groups draw on knowledge and understandings, and how this influences relationships and institutional formation. I am also interested in the ways in which knowledge and authority enables and/or constrains forms of resistance and control, and the role of knowledge and power in socio-technical change.

My research topics include rural  and urban communities; community-led action tackling climate change; relationships between community food growing, local food systems and household food security.

Previous projects have included looking at conflict management between different land users; the relationship between the natural environment and human health; and the cultural/institutional aspects of hunting in Scotland, including cultural traditions but also property rights.

I use primarily qualitative methods to understand how people construct meanings about (and hence make sense of) the world around them from their everyday experiences, and how these meanings create the cultural patterns, norms and institutions which make up society. My work mostly delivers to Hutton's Science Challenge 3 - delivering technical and social innovations that support sustainable and resilient communities.

Current and recent projects:

The role of locally grown food in enhancing household food security and community resilience, funded by Scottish Government, 2016-2021

Future Food - the role of Controlled Environment Agriculture in sustainable food systems (Seedcorn project 2019-20)

Citizen Social Science and local food growing (Seedcorn project 2017-18)

  • TESS - Towards European Societal Sustainability, funded by the European Commission, grant agreement 603705, 2013-2016 (
  • HUNTing for Sustainability, funded by European Commission's Seventh Framework Programme (FP7)
  • Governance and decision-making for community empowerment in rural communities, and
  • Understanding the linkages and interdependencies between rural and urban areas, both funded under the Rural and Environment Science and Analytical Services (RESAS) Division set up by the Scottish Government.
  • ClimateXChange (Scotland’s Centre of Expertise on Climate Change), funded by Scottish Government


  • Dinnie, E.; Browne, K. (2010) Findhorn and the sexual self., In: Munt, S., Brown, K. & Yip, A. (eds.). Queer Spiritual Spaces. Ashgate Publishing Ltd., Farnham, Surrey, Chapter 7, pp169-210.

Printed from /staff/liz-dinnie on 08/02/23 08:03:24 PM

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.