David Watson


  • 2.35 Thomas Paine Study Centre

If you made any changes in Pure these will be visible here soon.

Personal profile


Prior to becoming a lecturer at NBS I the Business School in December 2015 as a senior research associate on the Work, Learning and Wellbeing evidence programme for the Economic and Social Research Council funded What Works Wellbeing Centre.

I am an experienced qualitative researcher with training in both quantitative and qualitative methods. I have worked on research projects in a number of settings, including social movements, community organisations and with vulnerable groups in deprived areas. I also have experience of working in a number of settings outside academia including local government and the third sector.

I completed my PhD at the University of Essex in 2017 where I have also undertook an MA in Sociological Research Methods (Distinction). My background is interdisciplinary as I also have a BA in Philosophy from the University of Sheffield.

My PhD research explored how alternative organisations within the food system impacted on well-being and at UEA I have continued to explore the relationship between wellbeing and work with a particular interest in 'alternative' forms of organization. More specifically my research interests include, but are not limited to: political economy of the food system, alternative organisations and economies, green Marxism, learning in relation to wellbeing, Marx’s concept of alienation environmental sociology, well-being theory – in particular the capabilities approach and the role of well-being in guiding policy.


Journal articles and book chapters

See publications tab for peer reviewed articles and book chapters


Other publications


What Works centre for Well-being, (2017). Series of research briefs on work, learning and well-being Retirement and Wellbeing; Unemployment and Re-employment and Wellbeing; Job Quality and Wellbeing; Learning at work and Wellbeing


Watson, D, Boehm, S & Bharucha, Z (2014) “Should we feel sorry for Tesco? The human cost of cheap food” The Coversation


Watson, D. (2010) ‘The Distinction between Deep and Shallow Ecology; Does Deep Ecology Have Anything to Offer?’ in The Graduate Journal of Sociology No.10, Colchester: University of Essex


Selected presentations, public talks and conference papers


Watson, D., (2017) Treating a schizophrenic food system: Beyond the appropriation of alternatives and condemnation of the conventional, a dialectical approach, Critical Managrment Studies Conference, Liverpool 3-5th July.

Watson, D., (2017). Growing wellbeing: The benefits of productive relationships with plants. NBS Café Conversations series, North Café Bar, Norwich 11th May.


Watson, D., Daniels, K., Gedikli, C., Semkina, A., Vaughn, O. (2017). ‘Workplace Learning and Wellbeing: A Systematic Review’ Work, Learning and Wellbeing Conference, University of East Anglia, 12th January.


Watson, D., Tregaskis, O., Gedikli, C. (2016). ‘Adult Community Learning and Wellbeing: A Review of the evidence’. Learning for Health: A prudent approach to well-being. Learning and Work Institute, Newport South Wales 1st December.


Watson, D. (2016) ‘Lessons from the fields: The case for community-based food and organizing for well-being’. ESI wellbeing seminar series 12th October.



Watson, D. (2015) “Exploring a flexible framework for the measurement of well-being” Essex Business School Research Conference, University of Essex 13th May


Watson, D. (2014) “Working the Field: A Marxist interpretation of labour in Community Supported Agriculture” The Fruits of our Labour: Work, Labour and the political economy of our food system (part of ESRC seminar series, The Future of our Food), Essex Sustainability Institute, 29th October


Watson, D (2014) “The Role of Community Food in Promoting Well-being: Evidence for a New Paradigm” Fourth International Conference on Food Studies, University of Monash Prato Centre, 20-21st October


Watson, D. (2014) “Community food projects: De-alienating everyday life in response to capitalism” What’s so critical about your critical management studies PhD, University of Leicester, 16-17th September, 2014


Watson, D. (2014) “Exploring Alternatives; the Role of Community Food Initiatives in Enhancing Wellbeing in the East of England” European Society for Rural Sociology Summer School, Centre Olivier de Serres Ardeche 8-12th September


Watson, D (2014) “Exploring Alternatives: The Impact of Community food on Well-being” Presentation given to Tendring Eco Group, 12th May


Watson, D & Boehm, S (2014) “Food, capitalism, crisis: Potential for feeding a post-growth economy” Organizing for the post-growth economy, Copenhagen Business School, 8-9th May


Watson, D (2013) “Food security: Defining the debate” Nine Billion Essex University and Writtle College Interdisciplinary Conference, 23rd November



Key Research Interests and Expertise

My research interests are broad, but I have a particular interest in the concept of well-being, both as an evaluative tool and its potential for guiding policy formation and implementation. I’m also interested in the sociology and political economy of the food system and alternative food systems.

My PhD research focussed on the nexus of an increasing interest in well-being as a concept for evaluating and shaping policy and the interest and expansion in alternative food system and within that community food initiatives. The study explored participation in community supported agriculture and community gardens utilising predominantly ethnographic methods and semi-structured interviews.

I am interested in how such initiatives function as a response to the contemporary crises within the food system and the application of a well-being approach to understand their impact. This research is continuing with further work to understand how different community supported agriculture schemes support wellbeing capabilities and what role they might play in the future of the food system.

Other research projects include:

  • The evaluation of wellbeing interventions in the workplace and how the nature and timing of these interventions relate to organizational culture, structure and context with a view to understanding their effects. 
  • The role of music making programmes in organizational settings.
  • The wellbeing of Postgraduate research students in relation to institutional culture, practices and interventions.
  • The role of gardening in supporting wellbeing

Please contact me if you are interested in any of these research areas 

Teaching Interests

I have experience of teaching undergraduates in modules on International Business Environment and Organisational Behaviour as well as an interdisciplinary module on Social Entrepreneurs, Sustainability and Community Action. I am also and associate fellow to the Higher Education Academy and have given occasional lectures on other areas such as sustainability and alternative and local food. 


Expertise related to UN Sustainable Devlopment Goals

In 2015, UN member states agreed to 17 global Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) to end poverty, protect the planet and ensure prosperity for all. This person’s work contributes towards the following SDG(s):

  • SDG 2 - Zero Hunger
  • SDG 3 - Good Health and Well-being
  • SDG 13 - Climate Action


Recent external collaboration on country/territory level. Dive into details by clicking on the dots or