Using social practice theory to understand everyday life in a master-planned estate: outcomes for health and wellbeing

Maller, C 2012, 'Using social practice theory to understand everyday life in a master-planned estate: outcomes for health and wellbeing', in Lynda Cheshire, Alex Broom (ed.) The Annual Conference of the Australian Sociological Association: Emerging and Enduring Inequalities, Refereed Conference Proceedings, Brisbane, Australia, 26-29 November 2012, pp. 1-16.


Document type: Conference Paper
Collection: Conference Papers

Title Using social practice theory to understand everyday life in a master-planned estate: outcomes for health and wellbeing
Author(s) Maller, C
Year 2012
Conference name The Annual Conference of the Australian Sociological Association: Emerging and Enduring Inequalities
Conference location Brisbane, Australia
Conference dates 26-29 November 2012
Proceedings title The Annual Conference of the Australian Sociological Association: Emerging and Enduring Inequalities, Refereed Conference Proceedings
Editor(s) Lynda Cheshire, Alex Broom
Publisher The University of Queensland
Place of publication Brisbane, Australia
Start page 1
End page 16
Total pages 16
Abstract The importance of moving beyond methodological individualism and epidemiological foci on risk behaviours in health research is well recognised, particularly concerning health inequalities. In bringing social theory to the study of health, researchers have used Giddens' and Bourdieu's conceptualisations of 'social practice' to understand the dynamics between agency, structure and illhealth. However, social practice theory(ies) have more to offer than has currently been capitalised upon. This paper delves more deeply into the theory of social practice to provide alternative ways of understanding human action in relation to health and wellbeing, and to further reconcile structure and agency in the lived experience of everyday life. Drawing on research studying everyday life in a master-planned estate, I use social practice theory to investigate aspects of daily routines not normally considered in 'health behaviours' research. In particular, the research focuses on housing, transport and employment as well as exercise and other traditional health 'domains'. As such, health and wellbeing are instead considered the outcome of participation in a set of social practices. The working hypothesis is that better designed and managed neighbourhoods recruit residents into new practices, or reconfigure existing ones, resulting in observed increases in health and wellbeing. In concluding I argue the value of using contemporary social practice theory in health research is that not only does it consider key features of built and social environments as elements of social practices, it also cuts through the idea that individuals are solely responsible (and can therefore be blamed) for their own health status.
Subjects Urban and Regional Studies (excl. Planning)
Social Theory
Urban Design
Keyword(s) social practices
master-planned estate
neighbourhood design
structure and agency
sustainability
ISBN 90646587837
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