Thesis and Internships

Students from Wageningen University can write their Bachelor or Master thesis with the chairgroup Sociology of Consumption and Households (SCH).

Below you will find a list of SCH staff members with their topics of expertise. If you see a topic that you find interesting, or you have an idea about a suitable topic which fits in the SCH profile, you can contact the particular staff member to make an appointment or contact the education coordinator.

SCH also especially welcomes those students who wish to contribute to ongoing research of staff members. In both cases students can expect full support from supervisors. The SCH group also mediates in various internship opportunities in the Netherlands and abroad.

For more information on thesis topics and supervision contact the education coordinator: dr. Hilje van der Horst

Thesis topics by staff members:

Ir. Carja Butijn

General topics

- Consumer and technology from the user-perspective

- Application of technology in daily setting at household level

- Household production and care issues analysed by means of Practice theory

- Durability in the context of daily care e.g. food handling, preparation and quality

Health and society

Inequalities in health (global), e.g.:

- how can the acceptance of improved sanitary technologies in developing countries be improved?;

- what are the health effects over the life course of the use of different cooking technologies?

Inequalities in food, e.g.:

- What is the influence of cooking technologies on food security?

Consumer studies

- Relation between food preparation and quality

- Effects of measures towards durability and effects on health

- Use, appropriation and appreciation of technology by users

- Causes of change in food systems and appropriation in daily activities

Dr. Chizu Sato

Everyday consumption practice from a gender and diversity perspective

Gender, empowerment & development


- Market-based approaches to women’s empowerment

- Ethical consumption via cause marketing that targets helping distant humans (e.g., women, children in the global South) and non-humans (nature) in the global North

Gender, consumption & caring humans and nature


- Role of everyday consumption practice performed by (elderly, migrant, and/or farm) women and men in caring humans and nature

- Community (food) economies

- Multispecies commons & commoning

Community “health” economies


- Community organized care, such as caring for old people who are living alone, is organized by a community-based organization (e.g., “Zuid Doet Samen” in Apeldoorn-Zuid)

- Caring humans and nonhumans through community-based organizations (e.g., care farms, farm restaurant)

Transnational care

Market-based approaches to health


- Cause-related marketing, such as Pink Ribbons, Product RED, in the global North

- Direct selling in the global South

Gender, media representations and health

Dr. Hilje van der Horst

Health and society

- Food insecurity in the Global North, e.g. Food Banks

- Critical Public Health

- Disability studies, e.g disability and empowerment

- Informal care

Consumer studies

- Food insecurity in the Global North, e.g. Food Banks

- Ethical consumption practices, e.g. relating to sustainability

- Intersections of consumption and care, e.g. lunch boxes

- Migration and ethnicity, e.g. ethnic food, health

Dr. Hester Moerbeek

Health and society (but also for interested students of consumer studies)

Inequalities within households (relating to care and well-being), e.g.:

- The difference between siblings (either between brothers and sisters, or first child; second child and so on) in care for the parents during old age.

- Do parents provide their children with equal chances on things like: education; music lessons; sport lessons; tutoring or other extracurricular activities (in short: cultural capital)?

Consumer studies

- Political consumption: topics related to how people express their (policital) thoughts and beliefs through their consumption patterns. For instance vegetarians or veganists.

- Topics related to cultural capital, as expressed by Bourdieu, and status goods.

Social capital

I am a specialist on social capital, so any topic that is related to social capital, or social capital related to any topic is open for discussion.

Dr. Stefan Wahlen

General topics
- policies and politics of healthy lifestyle and sustainable living
- consumer policy (e.g. stakeholders promoting more healthy or sustainable living)
- lifestyle movements (e.g. meat politics)
- food practices (e.g. on sustainable eating, food waste, snacking)
- sharing economies and collaborative lifestyle
Health and society
1. eating (meat or not) as a social and political phenomenon
o   masculinity and care in barbequing
o   the role of the consumer for animal welfare,
o   vegetarianism / raw food as lifestyle movement,
o   what is healthy on healthy eating
o   dumpster diving
2. collaborative lifestyles
o   policies adjusting to changing ways of healthy living in the sharing economy (AirBNB, uber, etc.)
o   citizens as consumers: how local initiative of consumer groups can be supported by policy
o   mediation junction in regulating offline / online networks
o   problems of consumer policies in the sharing economy
Consumer studies:
3. collaborative lifestyles
o   consumers in alternative food networks such as foodsharing
o   consumer collectives in online / offline networks
o   new technologies connecting consumers and advancing change
o   sustainable energy consumption promoted by prosumer collectives
o   timebanking as alternative system of provision and driver for change
4. eating (meat or not) as a social and political phenomenon
o   policies to promote healthy and sustainable eating
o   the consumer in European food policies
o   how do policies affect what we are eating, e.g. meat
o   food labelling

Dr. Maartje Bulkens

General topics

- Participatory processes

- Governance

- Gender and sexuality

Health and society

- Processes of policymaking on and in healthcare

- The relation between the environment/nature and health

- Psychiatry and daily life

- Topics covering alternative medicine and therapies

- Topics related to palliative care

Consumer studies

- Consumption landscapes and places

- Consumption as leisure or tourist practices

- Participatory practices of consumption

- Practices of consumption around one's end of life

Jonas House

General topics

-      Novel foods

-      Edibility

-      Innovations

Health and society

-      Dietary change

-      Meat reduction and replacement

-      Sociological dimensions of ‘healthy’ diets

Consumer studies

-      Public acceptance of innovations

-      Changing social practices and public tastes

-      The role of production in shaping consumption (and vice versa)