Sustainable domestic technologies: transitions in consumption and practice

Panel: Second plenary session

Elisabeth Shove, University of York


In this short and deliberately provocative paper I reflect on what seems to me to be a yawning gulf between the potential contribution of the social sciences and the typically restricted models and concepts of social change embedded in contemporary environmental policy, particularly in the UK but in other countries too.  As well as making a strong case for going beyond what I refer to as the dominant paradigm of ‘ABC’ - attitude, behaviour and choice - I discuss the attractions of this model, the blind spots it creates, and the forms of governance it sustains.  This exercise provides some insight into why so much relevant social theory remains so marginalised and helps identify opportunities for making better use of existing intellectual resources.


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