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Understanding Disruption Moving towards low carbon travel A lens for understanding travel practice as socio-technical systems?

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Presentation on theme: "Understanding Disruption Moving towards low carbon travel A lens for understanding travel practice as socio-technical systems?"— Presentation transcript:

1 Understanding Disruption Moving towards low carbon travel A lens for understanding travel practice as socio-technical systems?

2 Context Transport = 24% UK CO2 emissions (DfT, 2008) Technology alone is not a solution… Understanding travel practices provides a way of thinking about how to transition from high to lower carbon travel (or to immobility)

3 The project Disruption As a way of understanding travel practices? As a tool for changing travel practices? See Mobilities 6 (1) on interest in ‘disruption’

4 What is ‘disruption’ Private Car breakdown Illness Breaking leg Bereavement Public Snow Flu epidemic Terror events Power cuts Quasi-Public/private Institutional level Strike Computer systems crash Fire Compulsory redundancies

5 Disruption As a way of understanding travel practices? As a tool for changing travel practices? If we study ‘normal’ travel practices and then how ‘normality’ is suspended or reproduced during disruption, what do we learn about the socio-technical constituents of a practice? See Mobilities 6 (1) on interest in ‘disruption’

6 Disruption As a way of understanding travel practices? As a tool for changing travel practices? Based on what we learn from studying disruption: Could policy makers use disruption as a tool to drive changes in travel practices? What might a practice/socio-technical systems perspective reveal about the ‘work’ to do before disrupting a practice? See Mobilities 6 (1) on interest in ‘disruption’

7 WP 1WP 2WP 3WP 4 WP 5 Quantitative analysis of disruptions and their commonality Jillian Ethnographies of disruptions in socio-technical systems James Lesley Helen Responsive study of disruptions Greg leading All involved Studying and changing understandings of disruption in policy circles to drive low carbon strategies Iain Greg Helen Embedding disruptive logics in policy communities Tim RA – 1 year 10% Investigator 2 x RAs – fte 10% for each investigator 1 week all investigators 100 days RAs (20 for a week) I = 30% G = 15% H= 10% RA – 0.8fte PhD student; Investigator: 15% over 3 years £98k£435k £140k£204k£88k WP 0 Management & Integration Lit reviews and annotated bibliographies Project meetings Dissemination (conferences etc) All 10% of all staff £239k Total: £1.2m

8 Conceptual frame Social theories of practice (Schatzki, 1996; Reckwitz, 2002; Shove, 2003, 2007) Socio-technical systems (Geels, 2005, 2010; Rip and Kemp, 1997) Any (travel) practice is not a result of rationale individualistic decision making… It is a result of the hanging together of situated culture, knowledge, competency, discourses and materiality that generate normalised ways of being/doing

9 For example: Does the mother who drives to work in Lancaster do so mainly: because she sees the car as a status symbol and therefore chooses it over a bus And because that was how her mum always got to work i.e. – does she have particular social attitudes and experiences that influence deliberate choices Or does she drive to work because of the above influences and because: the kids’ school is 5 miles away – chosen because it’s the best in the league table school insists that the kids arrive between 8.30 and 8.45, work insists she is behind her desk by 9.00, creating a limited time to get from school to work the buses to school are seen as unsafe by the kids so they won’t go alone, but there is no bus from the school to work so mum can’t accompany the kids there is no safe cycle path to school and then to work work provides free car parking (its seen as a perk of the job) which makes using the car easy work expects a smart and tidy appearance, and there are no changing rooms as it is assumed everyone will drive to work etc etc i.e. – does the cultural, economic, social, political and infrastructural system that mum and the kids operate within create a taken-for-granted way of travelling for the working mum?

10 If so, what happens in times of disruption? - the practical ‘policy’ outcome Does ‘normal life’ become impossible (kids can’t go to school; mum to work)? What does studying impossibility tell us about the socio-technical changes needed to make low carbon travel possible? If alternative travel practices kick-in, what (if any) consequences are there for everyday life? What does this tell us about how disruption might be a tool to break practices, or what does it tell us about disruption as a lens for studying the socio-technical changes needed to make alternative practices less problematic? What does all of this reveal about whether change means finding ways to reproduce existing cultural norms, or to break them but in a less painful way? what socio- and technical work might be done to make disruption acceptable or effective? at what scale (spatially, in terms of socio-economic groups, in terms of practice) should any strategies operate?

11 DUVET DAY TURNS POLICY INSIDE OUT Challenging the socio- technical barriers to working at home A policy to solve childcare, systemic disruption (e.g., snow) issues… But leading to a new cultures, the provision of technical infrastructures to enable home-working, and a significant increase in home-working outside of disruptive times

12 What does study of travel practice tell us conceptually – the theoretical outcome What is a travel practice, and how do bundles of practice coexist? What are the ‘hanging togethers’ of the socio- and technical that generate high carbon practices? How are practices situated – are communities of practitioners part of spatial (Lancaster v Brighton), socio-economic (wealth), ethnic or other situated socio- technical systems? How can a practice perspective help reveal the socio- and technical sites of entrepreneurship and important connections between them that might help transitions to lower carbon travel?

13 Conclusions We are still working it out! Disruption Towards low carbon travel Understanding travel through Disruption Understanding travel through Disruption Towards low carbon travel


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