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The Dynamics of Social Practice
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The Dynamics of Social Practice
Everyday Life and how it Changes



May 2012 | 208 pages | SAGE Publications Ltd
Everyday life is defined and characterised by the rise, transformation and fall of social practices. Using terminology that is both accessible and sophisticated, this essential book guides the reader through a multi-level analysis of this dynamic.

In working through core propositions about social practices and how they change the book is clear and accessible; real world examples, including the history of car driving, the emergence of frozen food, and the fate of hula hooping, bring abstract concepts to life and firmly ground them in empirical case-studies and new research.

Demonstrating the relevance of social theory for public policy problems, the authors show that the everyday is the basis of social transformation addressing questions such as:
  • how do practices emerge, exist and die?
  • what are the elements from which practices are made?
  • how do practices recruit practitioners?
  • how are elements, practices and the links between them generated, renewed and reproduced?

Precise, relevant and persuasive this book will inspire students and researchers from across the social sciences.

Elizabeth Shove is Professor of Sociology at Lancaster University. Mika Pantzar is Research Professor at the National Consumer Research Centre, Helsinki. Matt Watson is Lecturer in Social and Cultural Geography at University of Sheffield.

 
The Dynamics of Social Practice
Introducing Theories of Practice

 
Materials and Resources

 
Sequence and Structure

 
 
Making and Breaking Links
Material, Competence and Meaning

 
Car-Driving: Elements and Linkages

 
Making Links

 
Breaking Links

 
Elements Between Practices

 
Standardization and Diversity

 
Individual and Collective Careers

 
 
The Life of Elements
Modes of Circulation

 
Transportation and Access: Material

 
Abstraction, Reversal and Migration: Competence

 
Association and Classification: Meaning

 
Packing and Unpacking

 
Emergence, Disappearance and Persistence

 
 
Recruitment, Defection and Reproduction
First Encounters: Networks and Communities

 
Capture and Commitment: Careers and Carriers

 
Collapse and Transformation: The Dynamics of Defection

 
Daily Paths, Life Paths and Dominant Projects

 
 
Connections Between Practices
Bundles and Complexes

 
Collaboration and Competition

 
Selection and Integration

 
Coordinating Daily Life

 
 
Circuits of Reproduction
Monitoring Practices-as-Performances

 
Monitoring Practices-as-Entities

 
Cross-Referencing Practices-as-Performances

 
Cross-Referencing Practices-as-Entities

 
Aggregation

 
Elements of Coordination

 
Intersecting Circuits

 
 
Representing the Dynamics of Social Practice
Representing Elements and Practices

 
Characterizing Circulation

 
Competition, Transformation and Convergence

 
Reproducing Elements, Practices and Relations between Them

 
Time and Practice

 
Space and Practice

 
Dominant Projects and Power

 
 
Promoting Transitions in Practice
Climate Change and Behaviour Change

 
Basis of Action

 
Processes of Change

 
Positioning Policy

 
Transferable Lessons

 
Practice Theory and Climate Change Policy

 
Configuring Elements of Practice

 
Configuring Relations between Practices

 
Configuring Careers: Carriers and Practices

 
Configuring Connections

 
Practice Oriented Policy Making

 

Recent discussions of research "impact" tend to assume that moving from theory to practice is easy. In fact, it is often very hard. Hence it is unsurprising, if apparently paradoxical, that the theory of practice usually appears abstruse and even impractical. Hence, too, the tremendous achievement of The Dynamics of Social Practice. The book not only takes us confidently through the thickets of theory. But, more importantly, with examples that are thoroughly concrete (both metaphorically and quite literally), it allows us to understand how such theory can be brought to bear directly on such pressing and practical problems as climate change
Paul Duguid
Adjunct Professor, School of Information, University of California, Berkeley


The Dynamics of Social Practice, through a series of clever and courageous analytic moves, sets out an innovative framework for understanding the complexities of contemporary social processes. Written in a clear, accessible style and illustrated with a wealth of engaging examples, Shove, Pantzer and Watson successfully accomplish that rare trick of making an important contribution to social theory while also providing a major resource for social policy
Mike Michael
Professor of the Sociology of Science and Technology, Goldsmiths


This remarkable book provides the best available analysis-theoretically trenchant and empirically illuminating-of the dynamics of social life construed as a field of practices and inaugurates the needed process of developing practice-oriented public policy
Theodore Schatzki
Professor of Philosophy, University of Kentucky


Sample Materials & Chapters

Chapter One


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