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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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