Mónica Truninger


Mónica Truninger
Investigadora do Observa-ICSULisboa

I've joined the Institute of Social Sciences of the University of Lisbon in 2008 as a Research Fellow, and since 2013 I've gained a position as a Senior Research Fellow under the FCT Researcher 2012 programme. In 2019 (December) I've got a tenure position at ICS as a researcher. 

I hold a PhD from the University of Manchester, which was completed in 2005 and looked at organic food consumption in Portugal. Before my move to Lisbon, I gave research assistance to the final stages of an ESRC project ‘Delivering Sustainability: Towards the Creative Procurement of School Meals' (Cardiff University, UK). Previously to heading to South Wales I held a postdoctoral position for three years at Bangor University, surrounded by the breathtaking landscape of North Wales. Here, I developed my sociological work on local food cultures with Graham Day, framed within the Rural Economy and Land Use interdisciplinary project "Comparative Assessment of Environmental, Community & Nutritional Impacts of Consuming Fruit & Vegetables Produced Locally and Overseas" co-ordinated by Prof. Gareth Edwards-Jones. I had the opportunity to integrate an interdisciplinary team composed of environmental scientists, soil scientists, biochemists, nutritional scientists, health economists and sociologists. This was a very fruitful experience to understand the challenges of interdisciplinary research, especially when complex issues such as food sustainability and climate change are under scrutiny. Amusingly, my first peer-reviewed articles were published in natural ‘harder' sciences' journals or interdisciplinary journals, thus defying the traditional trajectory of sociologists' academic outputs. I believe this will become more common in future social science research that deals with issues of sustainability, food, climate change, risk, animals and the environment. These are topics that certainly challenge any confined disciplinary boundaries!

My first contact with environmental sociology and food-related issues began in the mid-1990s when a pioneering course in Portugal on Environmental Sociology (within the Sociology degree) started at ISCTE. Firstly coordinated by Prof. Afonso de Barros, and later on by Aida Valadas de Lima, those lively and motivating lectures were decisive to trigger my curiosity for, and knowledge on, this theme. My interest in the topic of the environment was then fostered when I integrated a pioneering observatory in the country on environmental issues, society and public opinion - OBSERVA - working closely with Dr. Luisa Schmidt and others. Within this interdisciplinary context, I started researching some topics that I have since worked on, namely food safety, food freshness, poverty and food insecurity, school meals. Theoretically, I have been applying an economic sociology theoretical framework for my work - conventions theory. More lately, I have been exploring theories of practice applied to the study of consumption.