Practices and trajectories: A comparative analysis of reading in France, Norway, the Netherlands, the UK and the USA

Dale Southerton*, Wendy Olsen, Alan Warde, Shu Li Cheng

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle (Academic Journal)peer-review

32 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

Using time diary data to examine practices of reading, this article examines trajectories of change within five countries in the last quarter of the 20th century. It employs a conceptual framework derived from theories of practice to illustrate their application in a quantitative and comparative analysis of change in patterns of consumption. Analysing recruitment and defection, the multiplication and diversification of reading-related practices, and the presence of distinct enthusiast groups leads to the rejection of popular claims that the practice of reading is in decline and that this might be a universal process across societies characterized as having 'advanced reading cultures'. Critiques of cultural homogenization in the context of global consumer cultures are also corroborated. Also, a conceptual and methodological framework for the application of practice theories to the analysis of consumption and social change is advocated.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)237-262
Number of pages26
JournalJournal of Consumer Culture
Volume12
Issue number3
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 1 Nov 2012

Keywords

  • comparative analysis
  • consumption patterns
  • reading
  • theories of practice
  • time-use

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