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									Beyond the ABC
how social science can help climate change policy




TRANSITIONS IN PRACTICE
climate change and everyday life
Elizabeth Shove, Lancaster University
Elizabeth Shove, Lancaster University
ESRC climate change leadership fellowship
ESRC climate change leadership fellowship
                                                    1
Reservoir of resources in
social theory


Including social theories of
consumption, material culture,
technology studies, cultural
theory, theories of practice,
histories of socio-technical
change, transitions, innovation
studies….




                                  2
the
ABC of
sustainable
consumption

         3
A
    Individuals have attitudes
    Attitudes towards consumption, waste and
    responsibility need changing
    Attitudes are changed by persuasion and information.
    Attitudes drive behaviour




B
    Behaviour is what individuals do.
    Behaviours need changing.
    Behaviours are driven by attitudes and prices.
    People choose how to behave




C
     If individuals chose to use less energy, water and
     other resources we’d not be in the fix we are
     Policy makers need to encourage individuals to
     make different choices

                                                      4
Behavioural psychology and economics
dominate climate change policy

   DEFRA, A framework for pro-environmental behaviours (2008)


   Kick the CO2 habit (United Nations Environment Programme 2008)


   Creatures of Habit: the Art of Behavioural Change (Prendergast 2008)


   I Will if You Will (Sustainable Consumption Round Table 2006)


   Changing behaviour through policy making (DEFRA 2005)


   Motivating Sustainable Consumption (Jackson 2005)

   Driving public behaviours for sustainable lifestyles (Darnton 2004)

                                                                    5
Attraction No. 1: emphasise consumer choice


  Driving factors                                        Chosen
                                                         behaviour



levers

                                                          Other
  Change driving                                          Chosen
  factors                                                 behaviour

Drivers include
Attitudes
Society
Economics            Externalise pretty much anything, including the
                     role of government and policy
Other people
Habit                                                                  6
DEFRA, 2008 Framework for Pro-
Environmental Behaviours
                                             Assume a ‘green’
The headline behaviour goals                 orientation to a
Install insulation -Better energy
management -Install microgeneration-         huge range of
Increase recycling -Waste less (food)-More
responsible water usage-Use more
efficient vehicles -Use car less for short
                                             different
trips -Avoid unnecessary flights (short
haul)-Buy energy efficient products-Eat
                                             practices
more food that is locally in season -Adopt
lower impact diet




Social marketing of green consumption
Avoiding regulation
Assume choice
Focus on efficiency, not demand
                                                                7
 Segment willingness                                                 Ability to act            High                                           High ability and
     and ability                                                                                                                                  willing

                                                                                                                                             1: Positive greens
                                                                                                                                    I think it’s important that I do as
                                      2: Waste watchers                                                                            much as I can to limit my impact on
                            ‘Waste not, want not’ that’s important,                                                                          the environment.
                            you should live life thinking about what                                                                                18%
                                                                                                        3: Concerned
                                   you are doing and using.
                                                                                                         consumers
                                               12%
                                                                                          I think I do more than a lot of people.
                                                                                          Still, going away is important, I’d find
                                                                                         that hard to give up..well I wouldn’t, so
              7: Honestly                                                                carbon off-setting would make me feel
                                                                                                            better.
              disengaged
  Maybe there’ll be an environmental                                                                         14%                                                Willing
    disaster, maybe not. Makes no                                                                                                                                to Act
  difference to me, I’m just living life
          the way I want to.                             5: Cautious participants
                  18%                              I do a couple of things to help the                                                                            High
                                                    environment. I’d really like to do
    Low
                                                   more, well as long as I saw others
                                                                  were.
                                                                  14%


                     6: Stalled starters                                                             4: Sideline supporters
            I don’t know much about climate                                                I think climate change is a big problem
           change. I can’t afford a car so I use                                           for us. I know I don’t think much about
              public transport.. I’d like a car                                           how much water or electricity I use, and
                          though.                                                         I forget to turn things off..I’d like to do a
                             10%                                                                            bit more.
                                                                                                               14%




Low potential and                      Attraction No. 2: segments inform targets                                                                                    8
    unwilling                                                                     Low
Attraction No. 3: consumers as factors in
systems that can be modeled.                                            Social


Environmental, economic and social drivers                Demographic                 Customer
of the future; of which the social is defined               Change
like this: Mouchel for UKWIR

•   Demographic Change (fixed)                                            Demanding          Accepting



• Customer
The demanding customer will expect to be able to use as much
water as they wish and can afford.
     – Not susceptible to water efficiency messages
     – Also likely to expect very high standards of service


The accepting customer will be prepared to use water more
sparingly for the greater good.
     – Will accept current standards of service.


                                                                                                     9
Attraction No. 4: provides                    And a logical explanation
an ‘evidence’ based                           for intervention
approach


Universality of
behaviour
Permits comparisons and lessons               1. Attitudes are this
from smoking to building design;
                                              2. Opportunities are that
from eating to driving; from
laundering to gardening; from one             3. Barriers are the following
country to another
                                              4. If obstacles are overcome, behaviours
                                                 are likely to change
Uniformity of levers and drivers -
human nature; together with market
segments.

   Depending on what you count as evidence!                                         10
Attraction No. 5: the ABC deals with everything


             • Assume levers, and if they
               don’t work, assume barriers.
             • Assume choice, and if it doesn’t
               transpire, assume habit.
             • Assume drivers, - the detail doesn’t
               matter
             • Assume that attitudes are drivers, so
               collect and use evidence on
               attitudes




                                                       11
Attraction No. 6: allocates responsibility
                              Twelve Steps to Help You Kick the
                              CO2 Habit
                              “The day's agenda is to give a
                              human face to environmental
                              issues; empower people to
                              become active agents of
                              sustainable and equitable
                              development”




                              …. Or, “The day’s agenda is to
                              position C02 as an matter of
                              personal addiction, thereby
                              denying the social formation of
                              habit, or any wider politics of
                              consumption, production and
                              demand”

                                                                  12
                                          Dominant
Individual attitudes, behaviour, choice
                                          social theory
price and persuasion
                                          and policy



Dynamic regimes of
everyday life;
changing definitions
of normal practice
generate changing
patterns of demand                        Social
for energy, water, and                    theories of
other resources.
                                          practice and
                                          transition but
                                          what link to
                                          policy?




                                                  13
A practice is social .. it is a
‘type’ of behaving and
understanding that appears
at different locales and at
different points of time and
is carried out by different
body/minds. (Reckwitz 2000: 250)



Practices involve the active
integration of materials, images
and competence.


Practices are coherent entities
that require performance for
their existence: performances
are generative and
transformative.
                               14
A practice “consists of several elements, interconnected to one other: forms of
bodily activities, forms of mental activities, ‘things’ and their use, a
background knowledge in the form of understanding,    know-how, states
of emotion       and motivational knowledge.” (Reckwitz 2002:
249).

Consumption occurs as items are appropriated in the course of engaging in
particular practices ( Warde 2005, p131.)


                                                                              15
For example


running hot water; bathrooms; ideas of body
and hygiene, freshness, knowing how to operate shower
and get the temperature right.

A bicycle, a road, an   ability to balance, and the
sense that this is a normal and not a crazy thing
to do.


Flour, sugar, eggs and milk, an idea of home
baking, competence to combine and cook ingredients



                                                      16
                                               17
The circulation and distribution of elements
Links are made and broken between practices




                                              18
Theories of practice       Theories of behaviour

Shared, social             Individual choice


Endogenous dynamics        External drivers


Specific cultural and      Common base in belief
material histories

Reproductive, generative   Causal

                                                   19
Global cooling
     “using energy to keep cool in                                               the potential cooling
                                                                                 demand in
     hot ambient temperatures
                                                                                 metropolitan Mumbai
     on a large scale is a relatively                                            is about 24% of the
     new development.”                                                           demand for the entire
                                                                                 United States.

Sivak, M. (2009), Potential energy demand for cooling in the 50 largest metropolitan areas of the world : Implications for developing
countries, Energy Policy, 37, 1382–1384




“energy demand for air conditioning increases rapidly in the 21st century.
The increase is from close to 300 TWh in 2000, to about 4000 TWh in 2050
and more than 10,000 TWh in 2100”
Isaac, M. and van Vuuren, D. (2009), “Modeling global residential sector energy demand for heating and air conditioning in the
context of climate change, Energy Policy 37,507–521

                                                                                                                                        20
How did the
practice of
heating and
cooling to
around 22
degrees C
become
normal?




what climate to
provide?          21
                                                                          Standardising comfort, sweat and smell:
                                                                          the clo and the olf

                                                                          The standard amount of insulation required
                                                                          to keep a resting person warm in a windless
                                                                          room at 70 °F (21.1°C) is equal to one Clo.

                                                                          Units were chosen so that 1 clo would be roughly the
                                                                          insulating value afforded by a man’s underwear and a
                                                                          lightweight suit, or “a heavy top coat alone.”

                                                                          The Olf is a unit used to measure the scent
                                                                          emission of people and objects.
                                                                          One olf is defined as the scent emission of an "average
                                                                          person", a sitting adult that takes an average of 0.7
                                                                          baths per day and whose skin has a total area of 1.8
                                                                          square metres; the scent emission of an object or
                                                                          person is measured by trained personnel comparing it
                                                                          to normed scents.



Professor Fanger in his "Doctor-dress" at a reception at DTU, June 2001
                                                                          Standardising science reproduces a
                                                                          specific set of cultural conventions: this
                                                                          matters for ventilation rates and energy
                                                                                                                     22
                                                                          consumption.
                              Air conditioning as normal




(Geels 2002)
                                                               23
               Disappearing systems: sweat, clothing, siesta
Configuring
refrigerated regimes


USA: post war house
building, 1950s onwards
Japan: symbol of
westernisation, 1980s
Australia: retrofitting
existing stock, 2000


Diversity between
and within countries
                          24
                                                Air conditioning as normal
    Configuration 1. In                         Configuration 2. In which
    which maintaining 21-                       maintaining 21-22 degrees C.
    22 degrees C. indoors is                    indoors has become normal
    novel



                        Japan
             India

               Australia




                                                             time

Technology already established: enters existing regimes, ready-made

                                                                               25
Practice oriented                      Behaviour oriented
How do concepts of comfort come        Why don’t people turn the
to be as they are?                     heating/cooling down at night?


How are systems of practice            Why don’t they install more efficient
sustained?                             technologies?


How might these be reconfigured?       Why don’t they install more
                                       insulation?

Intervention in the reproduction of    Promote efficiency and ‘retain current
everyday practice (18-28 degrees C,    standards’
rather than 22)


                                                                          26
Scale of impact: potentially massive   Scale of impact: inherently limited
Opportunities for practice oriented policy
To stem the adoption and/or use of air conditioning

Why 22 degrees C., where did that
idea come from, what assumptions
does it carry with it.

Why wear a suit when it is hot
outside?




                                                      27
Re-making practices and places
                                           This year, the MOE aims to expand the
                                           movement from the business scene to
                                           everyday lifestyles, using various knowledge
                                           and ideas, to stay comfortable in 28 C rooms.
the ministry estimated that the campaign
resulted in a 1,720,000-ton reduction in
CO2 emission, the equivalent volume of
CO2 emitted by about 3.85 million
households for one month.                  Cool Biz: not wearing suit and tie      28
Re-arranging the relation between body, clothing, climate and building technologies




                                                                                      29
       Re-inventing practices?




                                                   time


Before air conditioning   Air conditioning   Beyond air conditioning
                                                                   30
                dynamics   infrastructure   practice
There are
lots more
concepts on
offer for
policy
makers
willing to go
beyond the
ABC




                regime     system           transition 31
Theories of practice suggests that policy shapes what counts
as normal practice (and hence sustainability) by:
•   Contributing to the circulation and distribution of elements
    Infrastructures
    Ideas and ideologies
    Accumulations of competence

•   Defining valued projects – bundles and complexes of practice
    Shaping relations between practice – e.g. competition for time and other
    resources



These ideas also imply that:

• Policy is inside and not outside the system it seeks to change.
  Transitions in practice are not processes over which any one set of actors has
  control.


                                                                                   32
Disadvantages of practice theory for policy
No 1. recognises that policy has a part to play in maintaining
       unsustainable ways of life

No 2. highlights basic questions about how demand is made

No 3. points to material inequalities and differences

No 4. lessons are not transferable, each practice is different

No 5. acknowledges limits of agency

No 6. creates space for debate about the scale and direction of
       change

                                                                 33
                      Ideas that don’t fit the ABC model are not useful




“our understanding .... of the interaction              How to ignite social
between policy and social practice is as
yet so limited that it would be difficult
                                                        knowledge around climate
to see how policy could make use of                     change?
this position – beyond taking social
norms a bit more seriously as
influences on behaviour”
(Jackson 2005: 55).




                                                                            34
How social science researchers respond to questions that are not of
their own making




Chameleon: fitting in                 Landscape of ideas: challenging

Coping with external pressures,       Populated by academics and non-academics
managing to blend in, to travel and   alike; currents of debate, force-fields of
to survive                            influence;
                                      change is endogenous; interaction is
                                      unavoidable yet structured
                                                                               35

								
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