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Disruption and change: drought and the inconspicuous dynamics of garden lives.

Research output: Contribution to journalJournal article


Journal publication date2011
JournalSocial and Cultural Geography
Number of pages15
Original languageEnglish


It is now widely agreed that there is more to sustainable consumption than persuading individuals to make green their brand of choice. Instead, the focus is on how to understand the processes of change, particularly in relation to the transformation of inconspicuous habits. A dominant approach within sustainable consumption research suggests that changing embedded habits and practices requires making them visible and subject to overt decision-making and discussion. An alternative practice-based perspective suggests that enduring change emerges through the amplification of existing social orientations and does not necessarily depend upon explicit contestation and debate. We examine these positions with reference to a detailed study of changing outdoor domestic water consumption habits during the 2006 drought in south-east England. Our analysis of variable responses to the hosepipe ban leads us to suggest that the manner in which disruption generates change in consumption practices is mediated by pre-existing social orientations and by diverse configurations of garden infrastructures and water institutions.