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Publication - Professor Dale Southerton

    Explaining showering

    A discussion of the material, conventional, and temporal dimensions of practice


    Hand, M, Shove, E & Southerton, D, 2005, ‘Explaining showering: A discussion of the material, conventional, and temporal dimensions of practice’. Sociological Research Online, vol 10.


    This article considers the increasing popularity of showering in the UK. We use this case as a means of exploring some of the dimensions and dynamics of everyday practice. Drawing upon a range of documentary evidence, we begin by sketching three possible explanations for the current constitution of showering as a private, increasingly resource-intensive routine. We begin by reviewing the changing infrastructural, technological, rhetorical and moral positioning of showering. We then consider how the multiple and contingent constituents of showering are arranged and re-arranged in and through the practice itself. In taking this approach, we address a number of more abstract questions about the relation between practices, technologies and infrastructures and about what these relationships mean for the fixity and fluidity of ordinary routines and for associated patterns of consumption. The result is a method that allows us to analyse the ways in which material cultures and conventions are reproduced and transformed. This has practical implications for those seeking to contain the environmental consequences of resource-intensive practices.

    Full details in the University publications repository