Donna MacLellan

University of Glasgow
School of Social and Political Sciences
Ivy Lodge,
63 Gibson Street Glasgow G12 8LR
+ 44 (0) 7395 520 225      


Research title: Young women and consumer culture

Research Summary

Research outline:Young women and girls are increasingly confronted with, or constructed within, influential images and messages of consumer culture and celebrity status. Through various media outlets, including many social media platforms that individually tailor advertising to match users’ search histories and future desires, young women’s dreams and aspirations are structured in terms of celebrity-like success and material gains. The pressures to be glamorous and to ‘have it all’ – or at least to look like one does – is increasingly being marketed to teenage girls, stimulating new patterns of consumption. Initially, my PhD proposal began with an intention to explore young women’s acquisitive offending, such as shoplifting, within contemporary consumer society. However, guided by feminist criminologist Maureen Cain’s suggestion to ‘start from the outside’ (1990:9), I have shifted my research frame beyond the criminological boundary to focus on ‘ordinary’ young women’s consumption patterns and practices; the meanings, values and experiences of these consumption practices; and the structural and cultural contexts that surround and impact/influence these practices. 

 This research seeks to provide valuable and significant contributions to the fields of girlhood and consumption studies, at the same time offering an understanding of young women’s lives within our consumer-orientated society. It will also add to wider theoretical and empirical conversations relating to leisure and youth studies and provide opportunity to engage with young women using innovative and creative qualitative research methods.  

Cain, M. (1990) ‘Towards Transgression: New Directions in Feminist Criminology’ International Journal of the Sociology of Law 18(1), 1-18.  

Funder: ESRC 1+3 

Research interests: 

  • Gender
  • Consumer culture
  • Consumption
  • Girlhood
  • Feminism
  • Social theory
  • Qualitative methods
  • Ethnography
  • Social media


Batchelor, S.A., Armstrong, S. & MacLellan, D. (2019) Taking Stock of Violence in Scotland, Research Report 03/2019. SCCJR: Glasgow.  


SCCJR PGR-led Activity Fund

Awarded £700 alongside fellow University of Glasgow PhD students Amanda Ptolomey and Hannah Walters to organise Young Women and Girls in Contemporary Scotland and Beyond Conference

 5th September 2018

Glasgow Women’s Library


Recrafting Ethnography: Crime, Harm and Control in the 21st Century

13th – 14th June 2019

Govan, Glasgow

Conference paper: Young women, consumption and control


XVII Annual Conference of Youth Studies 2018: Youth Cultures and Well-Being

5th – 6th November 2018

Helsinki, Finland

Conference paper: Girlhood Consumption: Inclusion or exclusion from (consumer) society?


Previous teaching experience includes:

Tax Law, tutor and assistant lecturer

Social Security Law, tutor

Additional Information

I achieved my LLB (hons) at the University of Strathclyde from 2002 – 2005 and my Diploma in Legal Practice at the University of Glasgow and the University of Strathclyde in 2006. I completed my legal traineeship in 2009, qualifying as a Scottish solicitor. Although I am no longer a practising solicitor, I remain on the Roll of Scottish Solicitors of the Law Society of Scotland.

After departing legal practice, I spent a semester at the University of Strathclyde assisting with the preparation and teaching of the undergraduate tax law course. I arrived back at the University of Glasgow in 2015 where I began my ESRC-funded MRes and PhD exploring girlhood, consumption and consumer culture, an area of study that I have been passionate about since my own years of girlhood.

I am also a member of the BSA Consumption Study Group and SCCJR, the Scottish Centre for Crime and Justice Research.