Southerton, D., Olsen, W., Warde, A. & Cheng, S. (2012) 'Practices and trajectories: A comparative analysis of reading in France, Norway, the Netherlands, the UK and the USA', Journal of Consumer Culture, 12(3), pp. 237-262.


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 homogenisation 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.

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