Sustainable Practices: Social Theory and Climate Change, 1st Edition (Hardback) book cover

Sustainable Practices

Social Theory and Climate Change, 1st Edition

Edited by Elizabeth Shove, Nicola Spurling


208 pages | 4 B/W Illus.

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Climate change is widely agreed to be one the greatest challenges facing society today. Mitigating and adapting to it is certain to require new ways of living. Thus far efforts to promote less resource-intensive habits and routines have centred on typically limited understandings of individual agency, choice and change. This book shows how much more the social sciences have to offer.

The contributors to Sustainable Practices: Social Theory and Climate Change come from different disciplines – sociology, geography, economics and philosophy – but are alike in taking social theories of practice as a common point of reference. This volume explores questions which arise from this distinctive and fresh approach:

  • how do practices and material elements circulate and intersect?
  • how do complex infrastructures and systems form and break apart?
  • how does the reproduction of social practice sustain related patterns of inequality and injustice?

This collection shows how social theories of practice can help us understand what societal transitions towards sustainability might involve, and how they might be achieved. It will be of interest to students and researchers in sociology, environmental studies, geography, philosophy and economics, and to policy makers and advisors working in this field.

Table of Contents

Acknowledgements. 1. Sustainable Practices: Social Theory and Climate Change by Elizabeth Shove and Nicola Spurling Part 1: How Are Practices Defined and How Do They Change? 2. What Sort of a Practice Is Eating? by Alan Warde3. The Edge of Change: On the Emergence, Persistence, and Dissolution of Practices by Ted Schatzki Part 2: The Materials of Practice 4. Transitions In the Wrong Direction? Digital Technologies and Daily Life by Inge Røpke and Toke H. Christensen5. Mundane Materials At Work: Paper In Practice by Sari Yli-Kauhaluoma, Mika Pantzar and Sammy Toyoki Part 3: Sharing and Circulation 6. Practices, Movement and Circulation: Implications for Sustainability by Allison Hui7. Sharing Conventions: Communities of Practice and Thermal Comfort by Russell Hitchings Part 4: Relations Between Practices 8. Building Future Systems of Velomobility by Matt Watson9. The Making of Electric Cycling by Julien Mchardy10. Extended Bodies and the Geometry of Practices by Grégoire Wallenborn Part 5: Sustainability, Inequality and Power 11. Power, Sustainability and Well Being: An Outsider’s View by Andrew Sayer12. Inequality, Sustainability and Capability: Locating Justice In Social Practice by Gordon Walker

About the Editors

Elizabeth Shove is Professor of Sociology at Lancaster University and held an ESRC climate change leadership fellowship on Transitions in Practice. Recent publications include The Dynamics of Social Practice: everyday life and how it changes, with Mika Pantzar and Matt Watson (Sage, 2012).

Nicola Spurling is Research Associate in the Sustainable Practices Research Group at Manchester University. Her research explores how social practices change, focusing on intersections of policy, institutions and individual biographies.

About the Series

Routledge Advances in Sociology

This series presents cutting-edge developments and debates within the field of sociology. It provides a broad range of case studies and the latest theoretical perspectives, while covering a variety of topics, theories and issues from around the world. It is not confined to any particular school of thought.

Learn more…

Subject Categories

BISAC Subject Codes/Headings:
NATURE / Environmental Conservation & Protection
POLITICAL SCIENCE / Public Policy / Environmental Policy
SCIENCE / Earth Sciences / Geography
SOCIAL SCIENCE / Human Geography
SOCIAL SCIENCE / Sociology / General