Sustainable Practices

Social Theory and Climate Change

by Elizabeth Shove, Nicola Spurling

Series: Routledge Advances in Sociology

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.


  • Taylor and Francis; March 2013
  • ISBN: 9781135094034
  • Edition: 1
  • Read online, or download in secure ePub format
  • Title: Sustainable Practices
  • Series: Routledge Advances in Sociology
  • Author: Elizabeth Shove (ed.); Nicola Spurling (ed.)
  • Imprint: Routledge

About The Author

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.