The interconnected dynamics of social practices and their implications for transformative change: A review

Antje Klitkou*, Simon Bolwig, Andreas Huber, Lina Ingeborgrud, Przemysław Pluciński, Harald Rohracher, Doris Schartinger, Mara Thiene, Piotr Żuk

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalReviewpeer-review

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Abstract

This review article analyses the interconnectedness of different fields of social practice. Our aim is to understand if and how the literature using social practice theory addresses these interrelations and how this is linked to questions of sustainability transformations. Based on our review, we suggest a framework that conceives everyday-life practices of working, dwelling, mobility, eating, and recreation as closely intertwined and not changing independently of each other. As our analysis demonstrates, such a framing also contributes to better understanding the dynamics of (un)sustainable transformative change. Greater sustainability cannot be achieved by technological fixes or changes in individual behaviour alone but requires comprehensive interventions that address the interactions between practices, as these often co-evolve and co-locate, and changes need to be aligned between different practice fields. This has high relevance for understanding the development of public policy interventions that aim to increase the sustainability of everyday life. Our review shows a significant value of social practice research on the interconnectedness of different practice fields, although certain areas still appear to be somewhat neglected, such as the interconnectedness of work-related practices with other practices of everyday life. It furthermore points to the potential contribution of studies of interconnected practices to the literature on sustainability transitions, a perspective otherwise neglected in transition studies focusing on organisational actors and institutional dimensions of socio-technical change.

Original languageEnglish
JournalSustainable Production and Consumption
Volume31
Pages (from-to)603-614
Number of pages12
ISSN2352-5509
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 2022

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
This paper is partly funded by NIFU Nordic Institute for Studies in Innovation, Research and Education .

Publisher Copyright:
© 2022 The Authors

Keywords

  • Interconnectedness of social practices
  • Social practice theory
  • Sustainable transformation

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