1st Edition

Assembling and Governing Habits

Edited By Tony Bennett, Ben Dibley, Gay Hawkins, Greg Noble Copyright 2021
    260 Pages 3 B/W Illustrations
    by Routledge

    260 Pages 3 B/W Illustrations
    by Routledge

    The increasing significance of managing or changing habits is evident across a range of pressing contemporary issues: climate change, waste management, travel practices, and crowd control. Assembling and Governing Habits engages with the diverse ways in which habits are governed through the knowledge practices and technologies that have been brought to bear on them.

    The volume addresses three main concerns. The first focuses on how the habit discourses proposed by a range of disciplines have informed the ways in which different forms of expertise have shaped the ways in which habits have been managed or changed to bring about specific social objectives. The second concerns the ways in which habits are acted on as aspects of infrastructures which constitute the interfaces through which technical systems, human conducts and environments are acted on simultaneously. The third concerns the specific ways in which habit discourses and habit infrastructures are brought together in the regulation of ‘city habits’: that is, habits which have specific qualities arising out of the specific conditions – the rhythms and densities – of urban life and ones which, in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic, have been profoundly disrupted.

    Written in a clear and direct style, the book will appeal to students and scholars with an interest in cultural studies, sociology, cultural geography, history of the sciences, and posthuman studies.

    Introduction: Engaging Habits – Theory and Practice

    Tony Bennett, Ben Dibley, Gay Hawkins, Greg Noble

    Part 1: Habit Discourses

    1. Habit, Attention, Governance

    Tony Bennett

    2. Habit, Suggestion and the Paradox of the Crowd

    Ben Dibley

    3. Governing Behaviour: Habits and the Science of Behaviour Change

    Nikolas Rose

    4. Re-mediating the Human: Habits in the Age of Computational Media

    Carolyn Pedwell

    Part 2: Habit Infrastructures

    5. Governing Litter: Habits, Infrastructures, Atmospheres

    Gay Hawkins

    6. Cultivating the Habits of Coolth

    Abby Mellick Lopes and Stephen Healy

    7. Reflections on Water, Bodies and Habit

    Sophie Watson

    8. Habits of Data and Labour in Warehousing

    Liam Magee and Ned Rossiter

    Part 3: City Habits

    9. Re-calculating Urban Capacity: Habituated Geographies and Vertical Mobility in Volumetric Space

    Andrea Connor and Donald McNeill

    10. Habits of Difference in High Rise Living

    Greg Noble

    11. Urban Habits of Walking in Women’s Recovery from Depression

    Simone Fullagar

    12. Governing Habits in the Simulated City

    Gavin JD Smith


    13. Disassembling and Reassembling Habits: COVID-19

    Tony Bennett, Ben Dibley, Gay Hawkins, Greg Noble


    Tony Bennett is Research Professor in Social and Cultural Theory in the Institute for Culture and Society at Western Sydney University. He is a Fellow of the Australian Academy of the Humanities and of the Academy of the Social Sciences in the UK, and has held previous professorial positions at Griffith University, The Open University, and the University of Melbourne. His research spans the fields of cultural studies, cultural sociology, and museum studies, and he has served as a director of nationally funded research centres in Australia and the UK. His recent publications include Making Culture, Changing Society (2013), Collecting, Organising, Governing: Anthropology, Museums and Liberal Government (co-author, 2017), and Museums, Power, Knowledge (2018).

    Ben Dibley is a Research Fellow at the Institute for Culture and Society, Western Sydney University, Australia. He has research interests in social and cultural theory, particularly around questions of cultural institutions, colonialism and museums. His essays have appeared in Australian Humanities Review, Cultural Studies Review, History and Anthropology, International Journal of Cultural Studies, Museum and Society, New Formations and Transformations. He is co-author of Collecting, Ordering, Governing: Anthropology and Liberal Government (2017).

    Gay Hawkins is a research professor in social and cultural theory at the Institute for Culture and Society at Western Sydney University. She researches in the fields of environmental humanities, science and technology studies, and the interactions between material and political processes. She has written books and numerous papers exploring the materialities and politics of habits including The Ethics of Waste (2006), Plastic Water: the social and material life of bottled water (2015, co-authored with Kane Race and Emily Potter) and ‘The Skin of Commerce: governing through plastic food packaging’ Journal of Cultural Economy 2018, 11. 5.

    Greg Noble is Professor of Cultural Research at the Institute for Culture and Society, Western Sydney University. His research interests centre on the relations between youth, ethnicity, class and gender; migration, multiculturalism and intercultural relations; cultural pedagogies and Bourdieusian theory; and multicultural education. His books include: Cultural Pedagogies and Human Conduct (2015), Disposed to Learn (2013), On Being Lebanese in Australia (2010), Bin Laden in the Suburbs (2004).