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The Dynamics of Social Practice

The Dynamics of Social Practice
Everyday Life and how it Changes

June 2012 | 208 pages | SAGE Publications Ltd
Everyday life is defined and characterized by the rise, transformation and fall of social practices. Using terminology that is both accessible and sophisticated, this book guides the reader through a multi-level analysis of this dynamic. The book provides discussion of real world examples such as the history of car driving and the emergence of frozen food, bringing abstract concepts to life and grounding 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.

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

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