Practice theory research rabbit references and lists

We hope the references and lists below will provide both the international Practice Theory network and those new to practice theory with a useful resource for reading and research, and will help connect people and groups writing about practices.

Of course, there is no one practice theory and no one history of practice theory. However, we take the position that those “taking practices as the central unit of social analysis and conceptualisation” set themselves apart from other approaches to social life such as systems theories, structuralisms, assemblage theories, critical realism, and the different versions of individualism.  We classify texts that, strictly or roughly, uphold this principle as ‘practice theory.’

Still, any public collation of a resource list is a tricky task because it depends on 1) making judgements about what to include and exclude, which are 2) based on a particular interpretation (in this case, of what ‘taking practices as the central unit of social analysis and conceptualisation’ means, and which 3)  runs the risk of  provisionally fixing the indistinct boundaries of a field that can  be extended  by new contributions and readings.

With these issues in mind, we make use of an online citation-based literature mapping tool called Research Rabbit. The Rabbit allows us to curate ‘base’ lists that serve as starting points for colleagues to create their own resources: you can take and alter any of these lists as you want – adding and deleting texts to suit your interpretations, interests, and research.

More than a list of texts, the tool allows the user to visualise connections between groups of authors and papers, and at the same time, explore related publications or ‘look back’ at extended influences. Adding new contributions will adjust the connections and re-shape the mapped field. (You can read about how the Research Rabbit software and algorithms work, ways to use it, and how it integrates with reference managing software, here.)

For some, this technology will be powerful and exciting! (Warning: it is easy to get lost in the intertextual warren!) For others, a ‘hard’ copy of the list will be more useful. For the latter we have provided a plain text version in Google Docs (that includes DOI links), which can be downloaded, edited, added to and developed ‘manually’.

For the moment, we have decided to list only texts in English. But we are keeping that decision under review and invite feedback on how to handle that issue. Similarly, if you think there is a crucial text missing from one of the ‘base’ lists below, just email with your suggestion and we will consider adding it.

We do not want the thematic lists to be limited by our interest, imagination, or the time we have for developing them. So, if you would like to curate a list for inclusion on this page (whether based on conceptual issue, discipline, or topic), you are very welcome to submit a link to your Research Rabbit list, together with a hard copy version of it to can work with you to develop it for this page.

Happy burrowing.

List Name Research Rabbit Hard Copy Curated By Last Updated
PT (General) Link Link PT Centre at Lancaster 14/04/23
PT + Materiality Link Link  Stanley Blue  14/04/23
PT + Time Link Link Stanley Blue 14/04/23
PT + Organization Link Link Manuel Baeriswyl 06/03/24

Practice theory tapes

A selection of youtube videos that deal with practice theory.

Practice theory methodologies

For discussions of Practice theory methodologies – see the blog curated by Hilmar Schaefer and Allison Hui.

Practice theory books in context

The Nexus of Practices edited by Allison Hui, Ted Schatzki and Elizabeth Shove (Routledge 2017)   The website of the book

For some of the ideas that lie behind Shove, E., Pantzar, M. and Watson (2012) the ‘Dynamics of Social Practice’ : once called the ‘choreography of everyday life’

An annotated bibliography

Schatzki’s practice theory: an annotated bibliography

Related research centres

The DEMAND Centre (Dynamics of Energy, Mobility and Demand) 2013-2018 includes a wealth of research and writing inspired by social theories of practice.

Beyond behaviour change – including details of Yolande Strengers and Cecily Maller’s practice theory reading group