The Practices of Social Change

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapterpeer-review


Theories of practice are a diverse body of work with broad influences and application. They are increasingly used to study social transformation, particularly from the perspective of everyday life. They challenge received understandings of agency, path dependency and continuity, highlighting habit, materiality, competences and contingency. Application of practice based approaches to studying change has been uneven, but theoretical advances suggest avenues for integrating the insights that the approaches allow into questions of governance, advocacy, activism and other modes of collective contentious action. This chapter provides a short overview of theories of practice and surveys their use in relation to theories of social change. It demonstrates, based on recent social theoretical developments and a range of compatible and ‘friendly’ theories from social movement studies, fruitful cross-fertilisation which links together different theoretical resources for approaching different forms of change. Developing this dialogue further has the potential to address theoretical problems in the study of everyday life and socio-political transformation, and their articulation together. We close by outlining some areas which future research might explore in advancing this agenda.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationThe Routledge Handbook of Social Change
EditorsRichard Ballard, Clive Barnett
ISBN (Electronic)9781351261562
Publication statusPublished - 30 Sept 2022


  • practice
  • Theory
  • social change

Research Beacons, Institutes and Platforms

  • Sustainable Consumption Institute


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