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Name: Ivan Marković

PhD: Critical Theory and Cultural Studies

Thesis Title: Hazy atmospheres: a sensory history of smoking and vaping, c. 1880 - present 


Thesis Description:

The project will explore the everyday atmospheres of smoking in Britain from c.1880 to the present. Taking in the current rise of vaping (using e-cigarettes), this projects seeks to unearth the overlooked sensory experiences of touch, smell and taste, as well as affect and rhythm to expand an understanding of a practice that is too often construed merely as personal health risk or socioeconomic problem.

By the late 19th century, smoking in Britain had become universal and the mass consumption of cigarettes post-WWII saw a stark shift in the class and gender profile of smoking (Hilton, 2000), while the development of cheap, mass-produced paper cigarettes that replaced clay pipes and fine cigars, created an atmosphere with new scents, flavours, textures and rhythms. The project will examine how these changing sensory, material and affective spatio-temporal experiences shaped and were shaped by the established cultures of class, gender and health. What is more, the recent emergence of e-cigarettes further complicates these issues and poses new questions about the smoker’s identity by offering not only a safer, familiar alternative, but evoking, at the same time, a distinct atmosphere. The key contribution of this project will be to map the historically diverse atmospheres of smoking not only to get a richer understanding of the past but also nuance the ways vaping is sensed today. 

Thus, by capturing these more diffuse, ‘hazy’ atmospheric aspects, which have implications for the ways smoking is extolled or vilified, I will challenge a model that imposes rigid conceptual divisions by reducing smoking and vaping merely to notions of health and risk.


Supervisors and Institution(s): 

Dr Tracey Potts (University of Nottingham)

Dr James Mansell (University of Nottingham)


Book Reviews


  • n/a

Conferences & Scholarly / Public Engagement Activities:


  • Sensing past atmospheres; a green silk kimono and the sensory politics of smoking c.1880 – 1930.  - conference paper presented at AAG 2018 in New Orleans, US, 10-14 April


  • 'Locating selfish stinkers'; smoking and everyday sensory histories - conference paper presented at 80th Anniversary Mass Observation conference at University of Sussex, Brighton, 10-17 July

  • Smoking, agency and the everyday; towards a more-than-human rhythmanalysis - paper presented at University of Nottingham, Health Humanities' Early Bird research group, 19 July

Other Research Interests:

  • sensory history, material culture, (affective) atmospheres, rhythmanalysis, ethnography, smoking, vaping




University email address:

LinkedIn: Ivan Marković

Twitter: @hazyhistories

Other Social Media: 




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