Dr Libby Schweber
Areas of interest
Social theory, methodology, sustainability, innovation, assessment, standards and feedback.
Research centres and groups
- Transition Pathways to a Low-Carbon Built Environment
- Innovative Construction Research Centre
My academic career can be divided into two related, but distinct phases.
In the first part I specialised in the sociology of knowledge and comparative historical sociology. I first developed this interest while working on my PhD for Princeton, much of which was written in Paris as a visiting student at the Ecole des Hautes Etudes. This work focused on the effect of national state and scientific institutions on styles of reasoning.
I pursued this work in Berlin at the Max Planck Institut für Wissenschaftsgeschichte, before taking a position at Harvard University as an Assistant, and then Associate, Professor in the Department of Sociology. In 2003, I moved to the University of Reading as Reader and Head of the Department of Sociology, where I continued my work on styles of reasoning.
The second phase of my academic career began in 2008 when I joined the Innovative Construction Research Centre (ICRC) to develop a research programme on sustainable construction. This research applies my interest in the sociology of science and technology to a new object, namely large construction firms.
While the theoretical frameworks and research questions are similar, the move has introduced me to a world of engineers, architects and industry partners and allowed me to engage in an exciting, contemporary field of research. My work focuses on the way in which large construction and engineering consultancy firms have responded to the challenges of sustainable construction.
I am particularly interested in the way in which professionals engage with policy and management tools and in the relation between innovation and standardisation. Specific research projects include the integration of assessment tools such as BREEAM and different types of feedback into the design process, mainstreaming sustainability in large construction firms, the uptake and diffusion of innovations such as renewable technologies and MMC.
My current research uses a variety of social theories to explore these issues, including: neo-institutionalism, social practice theory, STS and ANT.
- BA Sociology, Harvard University
- MA Hebrew University
- MA, Princeton University
- PhD Sociology, Princeton University.
- ARCOM committee member
- Schweber, L. (2017) Jack-in-the-black-box: using Foucault to explore the embeddedness and reach of building level assessment method. Energy Research & Social Science , 34 pp. 294-304. ISSN: 2214-6296 | doi: https://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.erss.2017.08.005
- Boyd, P. and Schweber, L. (2017) Unintended Consequences: institutional artifacts, closure mechanisms and the performance gap. Building Research and Information , 46 (1). pp. 10-22. ISSN: 1466-4321 | doi: https://dx.doi.org/10.1080/09613218.2017.1331096
- Kurokawa, M. , Schweber, L. , Hughes, W. (2017) Client engagement and building design: the view from actor network theory. Building Research and Information , 45 (8). pp. 910-925. ISSN: 1466-4321 | doi: https://dx.doi.org/10.1080/09613218.2016.1230692
- Boyd, P. and Schweber, L. (2016) How did we get opaque windows? - Mutual constitution of technology and the built environment. In: Nenonen, S. and Junnonen, J. , (eds.) Proceedings of the CIB World Building Congress 2016: Understanding impacts and functioning of different solutions. , IV. Tampere University of Technology pp. 693-705. ISSN: 1797-8904 ISBN: 9789521537448 (ISSN: 1797-8904)
- Kurokawa, M. , Schweber, L. , Hughes, W. (2015) Tracing client interests in the course of a project: why are some client interests incorporated whereas others are not?. pp. 743-752.
- Schweber, L. (2015) Putting theory to work: the use of theory in construction research. Construction Management and Economics , 33 (10). pp. 840-860. ISSN: 1466-433X | doi: https://dx.doi.org/10.1080/01446193.2015.1133918
- Boyd, P. , Larsen, G. , Schweber, L. (2015) The co-development of technology and new buildings: incorporating building integrated photovoltaics. Construction Management and Economics , 33 (5-6). pp. 349-360. ISSN: 0144-6193 | doi: https://dx.doi.org/10.1080/01446193.2015.1074262
- Schweber, L. , Lees, T. , Torriti, J. (2015) Framing evidence: policy design for the zero carbon home. Building Research and Information , 43 (4). pp. 420-434. ISSN: 1466-4321 | doi: https://dx.doi.org/10.1080/09613218.2015.1004658
- Kabiri, S. , Hughes, W. , Schweber, L. (2014) Role conflict in project team dynamics.
- Kurokawa, M. , Schweber, L. , Hughes, W. (2014) Incorporation of different and changing client interests in the course of a project. pp. 925-934.
- Boyd, P. , Larsen, G. , Schweber, L. (2014) Perspectives on the specification of Building Integrated Photovoltaic (BIPV) technology in construction projects.
- Schweber, L. (2014) The cultural role of science in policy implementation: Voluntary self-regulation in the UK building sector. In: Frickel, S. and Hess, D. , (eds.) Fields of Knowledge: Science, Politics and Publics in the Neoliberal Age. Political Power and Social Theory Emerald (27). , Bingley, UK. pp. 157-191. ISBN: 9781783506682 | doi: https://dx.doi.org/10.1108/S0198-871920140000027014
- Schweber, L. and Haroglu, H. (2014) Comparing the fit between BREEAM assessment and design processes. Building Research and Information , 42 (3). pp. 300-317. ISSN: 1466-4321 | doi: https://dx.doi.org/10.1080/09613218.2014.889490
- Schweber, L. (2013) The effect of BREEAM on clients and construction professionals. Building Research and Information , 41 (2). pp. 1-17. ISSN: 1466-4321 | doi: https://dx.doi.org/10.1080/09613218.2013.768495
- Kabiri, S. , Hughes, W. , Schweber, L. (2012) Role conflict and role ambiguity in construction projects. pp. 727-736.
- Boyd, P. and Schweber, L. (2012) Variations in the mainstreaming of sustainability: a case study approach. pp. 1343-1354.
- Schweber, L. and Leiringer, R. (2012) Beyond the technical: a snapshot of energy and buildings research. Building Research and Information , 40 (4). pp. 481-492. ISSN: 0961-3218 | doi: https://dx.doi.org/10.1080/09613218.2012.675713
- Leiringer, R. and Schweber, L. (2010) Managing multiple markets: big firms and PFI contracts. Building Research and Information , 38 (2). pp. 131-143. ISSN: 0961-3218 | doi: https://dx.doi.org/10.1080/09613210903027147
- Schweber, L. and Harty, C. (2010) Actors and objects: A socio-technical networks approach for construction management research. Construction Management and Economics , 28 (6). pp. 657-674. ISSN: 0144-6193 | doi: https://dx.doi.org/10.1080/01446191003702468
- Green, . and Schweber, . (2008) Forum theorizing in the context of professional practice: The case for middle-range theories . Building Research and Information , 36 (6). pp. 649-654. ISSN: 1466-4321 | doi: https://dx.doi.org/10.1080/09613210802423512
- Schweber, L. (2006) Disciplining statistics: demography and vital statistics in France and England, 1830–1885. Duke University Press pp 288. ISBN: 9780822338147