Page tree

Get started by adding some pages to this space. Create page.

Versions Compared


  • This line was added.
  • This line was removed.
  • Formatting was changed.

Name: Ivan Marković

PhD: Critical Theory and Cultural Studies

Provisional Thesis Title: Hazy  Hazy histories: an atmospheric history of smoking, c. 1880 - present Smoking atmospheres in twentieth-century Britain


Thesis Description:

This thesis is as much about smoking as it is about atmosphere. Thus, its overall aim is twofold. In the first instance, it tells a story of smoking at specific moments in 20th century British history. Specifically, it is a story refracted through the lens of atmosphere to tease out and foreground the feelings, senses, rhythms and affects that otherwise remain merely a backdrop in more conventional historical accounts. Second, it is an epistemological experiment in thinking knowing the past atmospherically. In other words, it It seeks to address the question of how we might go about recovering, from the historical record, something as hazy, fleeting and potentially intangible as an atmosphere. Consequently, the same bifold aim is replicated in the individual chapters. Each chapter looks at a particular historical momentThe thesis tells a story of smoking at four key moments in twentieth century British history: the turn of the 20th century (chapter IV), the Second World War (chapter V), the 1980s (chapter VI) , and lastly, the mid-2000s (chapter VII), to unearth and buoy some of that atmospheric haziness, all too often consigned to the background of everyday experience. Parallel to this, each of these case studies proposes a different methodological attempt of thinking the past atmospherically by suggesting four separate routes: materiality, time, conviviality and space, respectively. Since storytelling is the overarching method for achieving this, it is only fair to characterise these four routes as narrative vehicles, set to carry, sustain and enable past fragments, otherwise ephemeral, to be followed and pieced together into atmospheres of the past.The first case study (chapter IV) employs as its guiding thread materiality. Through a biography of the smoking jacket, this chapter aims to explore the atmospherics of gender and class at the turn of the 20th century. Specifically, it looks at how following the materialities of the smoking jacket allows for a surfacing of the olfactory, haptic and rhythm and how these entanglements, alongside the emergence of the machine rolled cigarette and the subsequent democratisation and feminisation of smoking, led to atmospheric disturbances that both reflected and subverted wider gender norms.
Time and temporality is the second narrative vehicle through which atmospheres of smoking will be traced in the second case study (chapter V), which focuses on the Second World War and two sites specifically, the frontline and the Home Front. Taking boredom as a way into thinking about time, in the first case, the chapter investigates what kinds of atmospheres were evoked in the long moments when fighting ceased and the aberrance of killing men gave way to the ordinariness of killing time. Second, it looks at smoking as part of a wider practice of ‘mood management’ on the Home Front (Highmore, 2017). More than just propaganda, this ‘morale work’ sought to orchestrate a particular set of atmospheres that would be conducive to the success of the war effort by minimising the psychic and material damage done by the incessant aerial bombardment of Britain during the first years of the 1940s.
The third case study (chapter VI) which is situated in the 1980s takes as its guiding thread conviviality, understood simply as being-together, to investigate the social relations between smokers and non-smokers at a time when evidence on the harmfulness of second-hand smoke confirms that smoking atmospheres are, quite literally, toxic. With smoking still ubiquitous in everyday life, this chapter examines how particular sites of being-together, such as the workplace and spaces of commensality like the pub or restaurant, became centre grounds for a push against toxic atmospheres. Concurrently, it looks at how this aerial toxicity produced different forms of conviviality and the ways the elemental translated into the social, as relations between smokers and non-smokers became increasingly characterised by anxiety, enmity and acrimony.
Lastly, the fourth’s (chapter VII) concern is space. The introduction of the comprehensive smoking ban in public spaces in 2006/7 redrew the geographies of smoking which in turn redefined the atmospheres… [STILL THINKING ABOUT THIS ONE]

This is not to say that these four different experimental narrative devices could not be put to work interchangeably or that they should be restricted to their respective case studies. Rather, they are mobilised as guiding threads through which a specific moment in the 20th century history of smoking is narrated whilst simultaneously, at the level of the thesis as a whole, emphasising that atmospheres are ontologically capacious phenomena.

. The story is narrated through the lens of atmosphere to tease out and foreground the feelings, emotions, senses, rhythms and affects that otherwise remain a backdrop in conventional historical accounts.
The thesis adapts Sumartojo and Pink’s (2018) tripartite approach of knowing about, through and in atmosphere to archival research, and draws on a wide range of material, from newspaper articles, magazines, etiquette guides and diaries to letters, film, photography and material culture. It re-visits sources already considered by historians of smoking, while also introducing as yet unexamined material. The thesis then proposes four specific modes of attunement, materiality, time, conviviality and space, through which the four moments of the smoking past are examined, and past atmospheres conjured. Finally, the thesis makes the case for storytelling as a form of narration that has the unique capacity to compel an atmospheric attunement between the reader and the text, an experiential closeness and intimacy not always required or evoked by academic work, but one that has the potential to regain and hold a past atmosphere in the present.


1. Lighting up | 1
2. In the air | 12
3. Smoking out atmosphere | 38
4. Desiring atmosphere | 79
5. Wartime atmospheres | 117
6. Toxic atmospheres | 152
7. Purifying atmospheres | 185
8. Stubbing out | 213


Supervisors and Institution(s): 

Dr Tracey Potts (University of Nottingham)

Dr James Mansell (University of Nottingham)



    • Marković, I. (2019) 'Out of place, out of time: towards a more-than-human rhythmanalysis of smoking'. cultural geographies (26)4: 487-503.
    • Marković, I. (2019) 'Vaping like a chimney: skeuomorphic assemblages and post-smoking geographies'. Social & Cultural Geography. [Online first] 

Book Reviews

  • Marković, I. (2019) ‘Review of The Geography of the Everyday: Toward and Understanding of the Given’, AAG Review of Books 7(2).
  • Marković, I. (2018) 'In the mood...', Cultural Politics (14) 2. doi:
  • Marković, I. (2017) ‘Breathing air, sensing smoke’, The Senses and Society (12) 1. doi: 10.1080/17458927.2017.1268830.

  • Marković, I. (2019, ‘Review of The Geography of the Everyday: Toward and Understanding of the Given’, AAG Review of Books 7(2). forthcoming



Conferences & Scholarly / Public Engagement Activities:

Conferences & Scholarly / Public Engagement Activities:


  • ‘On the abundance of absence: second-hand smoke and the emergence of toxic atmospheres in the 1980s workplace’, RGS-IBG Annual Conference, London, 2019.


  • 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: