In recent years there has been considerable debate about the policy relevance of efforts to move ‘beyond behaviour change’ and develop strategies inspired by an understanding of how social practices emerge, persist, develop and disappear (Shove 2010 ; Shove and Spurling 2013 ; Spurling et al . 2013 ). When viewed as a type of social theory, theories of practice have a number of distinctive features, the most obvious of which is that they take the lives and trajectories of social practices as the central unit of analysis and enquiry. This basic move establishes the ground for further investigations into, for instance, the ‘elements’ of which practices are composed, their material anchoring, their history, their relation to other practices, and related processes of erosion, accumulation, recruitment and defection. In terms of academic debate and understanding, it is not too diffi cult to see what practice theories have to offer, or to show how they draw from and relate to other theoretical traditions (Reckwitz 2002 ; Shove et al . 2012 ; Nicolini 2013 ).