Matters of time:Materiality and the changing temporal organisation of everyday energy consumption

Spurling, Nicola Jane (2021) Matters of time:Materiality and the changing temporal organisation of everyday energy consumption. Journal of Consumer Culture, 21 (2). pp. 146-163. ISSN 1469-5405

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This article seeks to reverse an emphasis in current discussions of peak demand and the times of everyday energy consumption, which suggest that the use of technologies, infrastructures and energy are patterned by temporal features of practice as against such materials being integral to practice temporalities. In an exploratory study of homes and daily lives between 1950 and 2000, materials are foregrounded in the analysis of daily routines and the temporal details of specific practices – doing laundry, keeping warm and keeping oneself clean. The article challenges prominent approaches by demonstrating the material co-constitution of practice temporalities, and thus of the temporal organisation of everyday energy consumption. This material co-constitution is argued for in two ways. First, the article reveals the material dimensions of commonly cited concepts of temporality from Zerubavel, which have previously relied on solely social explanations. Second, the article argues that understanding materials as integral to times of practice (and consumption) requires a new conceptual vocabulary with which to perceive, analyse and discuss such relationships. The article concludes by outlining an initial set of concepts identified through the historical study and discusses the relevance of the emergent framework to contemporary contexts.

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Journal Article
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Journal of Consumer Culture
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The final, definitive version of this article has been published in the Journal, Journal of Consumer Culture, 21 (2), 2021, © SAGE Publications Ltd, 2018 by SAGE Publications Ltd at the Journal of Consumer Culture page: on SAGE Journals Online:
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Deposited On:
11 May 2018 12:16
Last Modified:
18 Sep 2023 01:22