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Practice-theoretical possibilities for social marketing: Two fields learning from each other

Spotswood, Fiona; Chatterton, Tim; Morey, Yvette; Spear, Sara

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Fiona Spotswood

Tim Chatterton

Yvette Morey
Associate Director - Student Academic Journey

Sara Spear


This paper introduces key concepts from practice theory to the social change agenda, and draws on the unique contributions of the social marketing field. Practice theory has underpinned a growing stream of research in pro-environmental studies seeking to reduce impacts of particular behaviours, but it remains theoretical. By drawing on social marketing’s applied roots, this paper introduces a practice-theoretical intervention planning process (P-TIPP) which frames the unique contribution of social marketing in behaviour change and foregrounds practice not individual-level change.

The P-TIPP draws on the total process planning model, introducing the concept of ‘practice as entity’ and ‘practice as performance’ to frame intervention planning tasks. The process locates the contribution of social marketing within a transdisciplinary framework which emphasises transforming collective conventions.

This is conceptual paper, but we outline the possibility for practice theory to make a significant contribution to the world of social marketing.

P-TIPP is untested. Also, practices can be difficult to identify and somewhat abstract. Finally, it can be challenging to introduce the approach to policy, funding and practitioner procedures.

The implications of P-TIPP are that social change interventions are devised, underpinned and planned using insights from practice theory, such as the way behavioural patterns fit into broader understandings of practice. The subsequent social change agenda will be inherently transdisciplinary, sustainable and reduce focus on individual power to change This paper is a first attempt at exploring what practice theory and social marketing can learn from each other for the future effectiveness of social change activity.

Journal Article Type Article
Acceptance Date Feb 1, 2017
Publication Date Mar 15, 2017
Deposit Date Feb 3, 2017
Publicly Available Date Mar 15, 2019
Journal Journal of Social Marketing
Print ISSN 2042-6763
Publisher Emerald
Peer Reviewed Peer Reviewed
Volume 7
Issue 2
Pages 156-171
Keywords social marketing, practice theory, process, intervention
Public URL
Publisher URL
Contract Date Feb 3, 2017


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