Conceptualising Demand : A Distinctive Approach to Consumption and Practice book cover
1st Edition

Conceptualising Demand
A Distinctive Approach to Consumption and Practice

ISBN 9780367465025
Published July 21, 2020 by Routledge
120 Pages 6 B/W Illustrations

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Book Description

This book addresses fundamental questions about the very idea of demand: how is it constituted, how does it change and how might it be steered?

Conceptualising Demand focuses on five core propositions: that demand is derived from social practices; that it is made and not simply met; that it is materially embedded and temporally unfolding; and that it is modulated through many forms of policy and governance. In working through these claims, the book weaves concepts from the sociology of consumption, science and technology studies, policy analyses and social theories of practice together with empirical cases and new research into such topics as the rise of refrigerated foods, the emergence of online shopping and the transformation of energy demanding services.

This innovative book takes a fresh look at the very idea of demand, a concept that is often taken for granted, but that is vital for scholars and students of energy, mobility, climate change and consumption, and anyone interested in the subject.

Table of Contents


  1. Introduction
  2. Constituting Demand
  3. Matters of Demand
  4. The Temporalities of Demand
  5. Shaping and Steering Demand
  6. Demand: A distinctive Approach

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Jenny Rinkinen is a researcher in the Consumer Society Research Centre at the University of Helsinki, Finland.

Elizabeth Shove is a Professor in the Department of Sociology at Lancaster University, UK, and was the PI of the DEMAND Research Center.

Greg Marsden is a Professor of Transport Governance at the Institute for Transport Studies at the University of Leeds, UK.


"This is an agenda-setting book. Combining big ideas with telling examples, it shows how we need to follow the practices of daily life if we want to understand the growth of demand. Vital reading for anyone hoping to come to grips with our dangerously growing appetite for energy and mobility." -- Frank Trentmann, History, Birkbeck College, UK.

"This book is a response to the urgency of low carbon transitions. It argues for approaches that go beyond energy efficiency and that explicitly focus on how demand is shaped – and can be reduced. The authors sum up insights from decades of research in a way that is accessible and inspiring for new readers and for those already familiar with social practice theory and governance." -- Inge Røpke, Ecological Economics, Aalborg University, Copenhagen, Denmark.

"Conceptualising Demand provides a coherent account of the social, material and historical foundations of demand, a concept which has become central to many areas of research and policy. A must-read for anyone trying to change demand in the energy or mobility sectors." -- Yolande Strengers, Emerging Technologies Research Lab, Monash University, Melbourne, Australia.