Comfort and Convenience: Temporality and Practice

Elizabeth Shove

in The Oxford Handbook of the History of Consumption

Published in print March 2012 | ISBN: 9780199561216
Published online September 2012 | e-ISBN: 9780191744099 | DOI:

Series: Oxford Handbooks in History

 Comfort and Convenience: Temporality and Practice

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Despite being embedded in the practices and discourses of daily life, comfort and convenience are not terms around which theories and studies of consumption have traditionally revolved. Over the last decade or so, the tides of intellectual fashion have begun to turn, bringing the mundane into view and highlighting previously invisible dimensions of consumer culture. In reviewing changing interpretations of comfort and convenience, this article captures some of the processes through which the contours of social life are simultaneously sustained and transformed. It also examines how interpretations of comfort and convenience come to be as they are today, and in understanding the types of consumption and demand they entail. This more substantive angle is important in that contemporary definitions of physical well-being and temporal order imply and rely upon forms of resource consumption which are unsustainable in the longer run or on a global scale. The article concludes by considering time and timing, convenience and compromise, convenience and the time–space profiles of practice, and changing patterns of consumption in relation to comfort and convenience.

Keywords: comfort; convenience; temporal order; practice; consumption; compromise; social life; consumer culture; demand; time–space profiles

Article.  8835 words. 

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