Social change performed through the practice of allotment gardening

Student thesis: Doctoral ThesisDoctor of Philosophy

View graph of relations Save citation

Authors

Victoria Whittaker

Abstract

This thesis asks what the practice of allotment gardening can tell us about social change.Through interviews and participant observation, it explores allotment gardening as a food provisioning practice, and interrogates how it fits with other food-provisioning practices. It also seeks to situate allotment gardening – in which the individual is both producer and consumer –within an alternative food network paradigm, and tease out whether this distinction makes a difference to how individuals approach issues of ethical consumption. I draw on Giddens’s structuration theory and contemporary practice theory to identify the elements of allotment gardening as a practice. Subsequently, I use the data collected from my fieldwork to reflect upon the strengths and limitations of practice theory as an analytical approach to social change.My findings indicate that allotment gardeners did not systematically share the motivations of ethical consumers but that allotment gardening nonetheless achieved some of the aims of ethical consumption. My research also makes a twofold contribution to contemporary practice theory. First, detailed data analysis demonstrates the multi-layered role that social geographic notions of place/space play in the performance of allotment practice; a dimension which could be more fully developed in further research. Second, in support of current thinking that practices must be analysed not in isolation but in combination if we are to account for social change, I argue that a shift in emphasis is necessary to realise the potential of Reckwitz’s notion of the individual as the ‘unique crossing point’ of practices. This involves situating the individual as the determining element within practice, rather than just one element among others. My data further demonstrates how focusing on the individual as a crossing point of social networks reveals the significant impact that relationships have upon practices.

Details

Original languageEnglish
Awarding Institution
Supervisors/Advisors
Award date20 Jun 2017

    Keywords

  • alternative food networks, , practice theory, ethics of consumption

If you have discovered material in the Aston Research Explorer, which is unlawful e.g. breaches copyright, (either theirs or that of a third party) or any other law, including but not limited to those relating to patent, trademark, confidentiality, data protection, obscenity, defamation, libel, then please read our Takedown Policy and contact the service immediately.

Download statistics

No data available

Employable Graduates; Exploitable Research

Copy the text from this field...