The Social Worlds of Caravaning: Objects, Scripts and Practices

Southerton, D. and Shove, Elizabeth and Warde, A. and Deem, R. (2001) The Social Worlds of Caravaning: Objects, Scripts and Practices. Sociological Research Online, 6 (2). ISSN 1360-7804

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This paper is about the part which objects play in scripting the practices and strategies of their users. Goffman uses the concept of script to make sense of the conventional ordering of social interaction and the definition and maintenance of social worlds. As adopted by Latour (1992), Akrich (1992)and others, the term describes the ways in which devices and non-human actors configure their users. Drawing upon a study of caravaning and caravaners, we link these interpretations together through the mediating concept of practice. We argue that the practice of caravaning involves the resolution of common dilemmas, related to the material characteristics of the activity, and that the manner of their resolution, which involves the differential use of apparently similar objects and devices, underpins the social ordering of caravaning communities. In this case, as in others, non- human actors do not simply script, they also set the stage for social differentiation. Equally, caravans and caravan sites are much more than props strategically deployed in the course of social interaction. Like other objects, they are also implicated in the constitution and definition of the challenges around which social distinctions revolve.

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Journal Article
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Sociological Research Online
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Deposited On:
10 Nov 2008 12:12
Last Modified:
18 Sep 2023 00:06