The Dynamics of Social Practice

dospWritten with Elizabeth Shove and Mika Panztar and published by Sage in 2012. In this book, we set out to develop practice theory in ways which help it be applicable to researching and understanding how everyday life changes. In developing concepts for working with the different ways in which practices relate to each other, it shows how changes in everyday life are inseparable from broader processes of social change.

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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

The dynamics of social practice (DSP) …. seeks to provide us with fundaments for understanding how social practices exist, prevail and change. In doing so it lays out at least an interim synthesis of the authors’ decades-long development of practice theory. It discusses its bewilderingly wide topic (how everyday life changes) in just 160 pages with admirable clarity, positioning the volume as one of the potential text books for understanding practice, and indeed, how all social phenomena can be understood as practices… How does DSP then succeed in its grand mission in its short and accessible form? One must hand it to the authors that it does so admirably well. Particularly rewarding are the extensive sets of questions and anchoring to readers’ common sense that are provided in each discussed change dynamic along the way. Indeed, DSP is a horn of plenty for great research questions to be further investigated for those who remain unsure of what they should do with their intellectual life.

Sampsa Hyysalo, Nordic Journal of Science and Technology Studies 1 (1): 41-43, 2013

Author: Matt Watson

A Human Geographer at the University of Sheffield, interested in how everyday human action and social orders make each other, with implications for sustainability and wellbeing.

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