Everyday life is defined and characterised by the rise, transformation and fall of social practices. Using terminology that is both accessible and sophisticated, this essential book guides the reader through a multi-level analysis of this dynamic.

In working through core propositions about social practices and how they change the book is clear and accessible; real world examples, including the history of car driving, the emergence of frozen food, and the fate of hula hooping, bring abstract concepts to life and firmly ground 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 addressing questions such as:how do practices emerge, exist and die?what are the elements from which practices are made?how do practices recruit practitioners?how are elements, practices and the links between them generated, renewed and reproduced?

Precise, relevant and persuasive this book will inspire students and researchers from across the social sciences.

Making and Breaking Links

Making and breaking links

We begin our analysis of the dynamics of social practice with two deceptively simple propositions. The first is that social practices consist of elements that are integrated when practices are enacted. The second is that practices emerge, persist and disappear as links between their defining elements are made and broken.

The contention that people are routinely engaged in making and breaking links of one kind or another is not particularly controversial. John Law writes about ‘heterogenous engineers’ (1987), who assemble ‘bits and pieces from the social, the technical, the conceptual and the textual’ so as to make sets of equally heterogeneous ‘products’ including scientific products, along with institutions, organizations, computing systems, economies and technologies (1992). And in anthropology, Appadurai's ...

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