You are here

The Dynamics of Social Practice

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  
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

Preview this book

For instructors

This book is not available as an inspection copy. For more information contact your local sales representative.

Select a Purchasing Option

ISBN: 9780857020437
ISBN: 9780857020420

SAGE Knowledge is the ultimate social sciences digital library for students, researchers, and faculty. Hosting more than 4,400 titles, it includes an expansive range of SAGE eBook and eReference content, including scholarly monographs, reference works, handbooks, series, professional development titles, and more.

The platform allows researchers to cross-search and seamlessly access a wide breadth of must-have SAGE book and reference content from one source.

SAGE Knowledge brings together high-quality content from across our imprints, including CQ Press and Corwin titles.