© 2019

Social Practices and Dynamic Non-Humans

Nature, Materials and Technologies

  • Cecily Maller
  • Yolande Strengers

Table of contents

  1. Front Matter
    Pages i-xvii
  2. Yolande Strengers, Cecily Maller
    Pages 1-21
  3. Nature, Materiality and Processes

  4. Technologies, Automation and Performativity

  5. Back Matter
    Pages 255-264

About this book


The robots are coming! So too is the ‘age of automation’, the march of ‘invasive’ species, more intense natural disasters, and a potential cataclysm of other unprecedented events and phenomena of which we do not yet know, and cannot predict. This book is concerned with how to account for these non-humans and their effects within theories of social practice. In particular, this provocative collection tackles contemporary debates about the roles, relations and agencies of constantly changing, disruptive, intelligent or otherwise 'dynamic' non-humans, such as weather, animals and automated devices. In doing so contributors challenge and take forward existing understandings of dynamic non-humans in theories of social practice by reconsidering their potential roles in everyday life. The book will benefit sociology, geography, science and technology studies, and human- (and animal-) computer interaction design scholars seeking to make sense of the complex entanglement of non-human phenomena and things in the performance of social practices.


post humaniam human geography social theory cultural studies science and technology studies social practices environmental change social change

Editors and affiliations

  • Cecily Maller
    • 1
  • Yolande Strengers
    • 2
  1. 1.Centre for Urban ResearchRMIT UniversityMelbourneAustralia
  2. 2.Centre for Urban ResearchRMIT UniversityMelbourneAustralia

About the editors

Dr Cecily Maller is a Vice Chancellor's Senior Research Fellow and co-leader of the Beyond Behaviour Change Research Program, Centre for Urban Research, RMIT University, Australia.

Associate Professor Yolande Strengers is a Principal Research Fellow and co-leader of the Beyond Behaviour Change Research Program, Centre for Urban Research, RMIT University, Australia.

Bibliographic information


“Theories of practice have insufficiently explored the significance of nonhumans for social life. This splendid collection quickly fills this lacuna, pushing theories of practice to question their residual humanism and to explore such ideas as nonhumans co-performing practices. The book examines an impressive range of such entities, from organisms, water, and heat to robots, automated devices, and software. Exciting reading for anyone interested in the evolving dynamics of social life!” (Professor Ted Schatzki, University of Kentucky, USA)

“The chapters in this volume are like drawings in an artist’s sketchbook, each revealing aspects of the many and changing interactions of which social practices are made.” (Professor Elizabeth Shove, Lancaster University, UK)

“This thought provoking book addresses a central issue of contemporary practice theories: do practices need humans to exist? Can non-humans and more than human actants perform practices? By offering a range of empirically grounded answers the volume questions the inherent residual humanism of some versions of practice theory and offers original and innovative ways to overcome it.” (Professor Davide Nicolini, Warwick Business School, University of Warwick, UK)