Tuesday, December 19, 2006

Research on Customer Practices

Today, on Tuesday 19th of December, I participated a morning seminar organized by Vectia Ltd related to the KULTA project. Elizabeth Shove (Lancaster University) and Matt Wattson (Durham University) had a talk on practices and consumption. Elizabeth discussed practice oriented product design and presented Do It Yourself and digital photography as cases. She referred to elements of practice theory that she has been developing together with Prof. Mika Pantzar.

Pantzar and Shove state in their Choreography of Everyday Life that "practice is a process of integration resulting in a structured arrangement". Elements that are integrated consist of material, image and skill. In different phases links between elements are not yet formed, formed, or broken. One of the underlying issues is the idea that activities can be considered from the point of view of practices rather than, for instance, through the properties of the individuals involved. This seems to provide interesting point of view into cognitive modeling within social settings. Namely, individuals could be considered as "containers of practices". This would, of course, not mean only a top down approach. (The image on the right refers to a situation in which the practices of crosscountry skiing, golfing and family outing are merged.)

Dr. Oskar Korkman from Vectia talked on application oriented aspects of practice theory with the title "Practice Design". He presented cases on team working and cruise consumption.

In the end, Mika Pantzar provided an interesting point of view into practice theory discussing the aspect of time. He mentioned, for instance, that "practices (as performances) have identifiable co-ordinates of space and time: some are recorded in individual appointments diaries; many more evaporate, but never entirely without trace." The abstract of the presentation describes these issues more in detail.

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