Using ABM to Clarify and Refine Social Practice Theory

Conference paper
Part of the Advances in Intelligent Systems and Computing book series (AISC, volume 528)


We use an agent-based model to help to refine and clarify social practice theory, wherein the focus is neither on individuals nor on any form of societal totality, but on the repeated performances of practices ordered across space and time. The recursive relationship between social practices and practitioners (individuals performing practices) is strongly emphasised in social practice theory. We intend to have this recursive relationship unfold dynamically in a model where practitioners and social practices are both considered as agents. Model conceptualisation is based on the principle of structuration theory—the focus is neither on micro causing macro nor on macro influencing micro, but on the duality between structure (macro) and agency (micro). In our case, we conceptualise the duality between practitioners and practices based on theoretical insights from social practices literature; where information is unclear or insufficient, we make systematic assumptions and account for these.


Social practice theory Modelling social practices Agent-based model Structuration theory 


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Copyright information

© Springer International Publishing AG 2017

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Centre for Research in Social Simulation (CRESS), Department of SociologyUniversity of SurreyGuildfordUK

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