Accepted paper:

Coordinating arrays of practice or managing intermittent oligoptica? Reflections from the intersection of households and home heating, STS and practice theory


Allison Hui (Lancaster University)

Paper short abstract:

This paper contributes to understandings of the coordination of household practices by developing the concept of arrays of practices, extending the existing concept of oligoptica, and raising questions about the implications for methodologies and interventions that accompany each.

Paper long abstract:

While STS research on user practices has contributed valuable insights regarding the social construction of technology and co-evolution of technologies and practices, they remain limited for understanding the intersection of multiple practices and technologies that shape services such as home heating. This paper therefore departs not from use but from coordination - focusing in particular upon the coordination of multiple practices within households. Its main contribution is to develop the concept of 'arrays of practice' as a means to bring together the heterogeneous materials recruited into household coordination - calendars, diaries, lists, mobile phones, central heating timers - and reflect upon how people's everyday practices hang together with particular spatiotemporal patterning. By considering this concept of 'arrays of practice' alongside the understanding of 'oligoptica' that has been deployed within STS work, the paper reflects upon key differences between Practice Theory and STS methodologies, and the implications of these for developing interventions or prefiguring change.

panel C07
Intersections and meetings between practice theory and STS