• Summary
  • Contents
  • Subject index

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.

The Life of Elements
The life of elements

In Chapter 2 we argued that practices like driving develop as links between defining elements are made and broken. In so far as this is true, the potential for practices to spread and take hold depends, at least in part, on the ready availability of requisite elements. If we are to understand how practices are distributed within and between societies, we need to think about how materials, meanings and forms of competence circulate and persist. This requires a shift of emphasis. Whereas Chapter 2 concentrated on connections between elements, this chapter discusses what one might think of as generic features or ‘elemental’ characteristics. In proceeding as if these could be somehow separated out, and in suggesting that materials, ...

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