Tracking Social Practices with Big(ish) data

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1 Tracking Social Practices with Big(ish) data Dr Ben Anderson Sustainable Energy Research Centre, Faculty of Engineering & Environment 26 th June

2 Contents Background Practices the view from here Tracking them down TimeTraces TechnoTraces Challenges 2

3 Contents Background Practices the view from here Tracking them down TimeTraces TechnoTraces Challenges 3

4 So what are practices? a temporally unfolding and spatially dispersed nexus of doings and sayings Schatzki, 1996 Performance Entities habits, bodily and mental routines permanent dispositions Reckwitz, 2002; Why people don t do what they should - Jim Skea, 2011 habituation, routine, practical consciousness, tacit knowledge, tradition Performance often neither fully conscious nor reflective Embodied habits & competencies (skills), Meanings/ conventions Warde, 2005 (image) Material artefacts (stuff) Shove & Pantzar, 2005

5 Can we observe them? (an empiricist s response) Image: Anthony B. Wooldridge The recurrent enactment of specific practices leaves all sorts of marks diet shows up in statistics on obesity; heating and cooling practices have effect on energy demand, and habits of laundry matter for water consumption. Identifying relevant proxies represents one way to go. ESRC Sustainable Practices Working Group (SPRG) Discussion Paper, 2011 Image: Eric Shipton

6 How to detect marks & proxies? Tried: Shadowing/tracking/observation Small n, can ask why, investigator effects (?) Historical? Time use surveys (diaries, e.g. UK ONS 2000, MTUS) Relatively Untried: Big n, non response issues, can t ask why, complex data Rarely longitudinal, sometimes historical (MTUS) Expenditure Surveys Big n, proxies for practices, can t ask why, complex data e.g. TechnoTraces (Savage & Burrows, 2007; 2009; 2014) Transactions/meters/bills, proxies for practices, complex data, difficult to process

7 Contents Background Practices the view from here Tracking them down TimeTraces TechnoTraces Challenges 7

8 Time Traces Large sample time-use surveys 100 % Phone/ friends Travel Computer Hobbies/other Going out Friends/Family at home Sport/exercise Reading TV/radio shopping adult care child care civic acts education work housework eating/drinking washing sleeping 0 06:00 08:00 10:00 12:00 14:00 16:00 18:00 20:00 22:00 0:00:00 Data: % of sample reporting activity Time 8 Source: ONS 2005 UK Time Use Survey, all 16+

9 Time Traces Large sample time-use surveys Credit: Mathieu Durand-Daubin (EDF R&D) drawing on INSEE (2012) Le temps de l alimentation en France 9

10 Time Traces Large sample time-use surveys Over time E.g. Laundry 1.40% 1.20% 1.00% 0.80% 0.60% 0.40% 0.20% 0.00% Monday 04:00 05:30 07:00 08:30 10:00 11:30 13:00 14:30 16:00 17:30 19:00 20:30 22:00 23:30 01:00 02: % 1.20% 1.00% Sunday Data: % of reported laundry being done at given time Source: Multinational Time Use Survey Dataset (UK, , all 18+) 0.80% 0.60% 0.40% 0.20% 0.00% 04:00 05:30 07:00 08:30 10:00 11:30 13:00 14:30 16:00 17:30 19:00 20:30 22:00 23:30 01:00 02:

11 Time Traces Large sample time-use surveys Over time E.g. Laundry Source: E-living Survey (2002) n ~= 1100 per country (Norway, UK, Bulgaria, Germany, Italy) Internationally Cooking % respondents (weighted) 16% 14% 12% 10% 8% 6% 4% 2% 0% UK Italy Germany Norway Bulgaria 00:00 01:00 02:00 03:00 04:00 05:00 06:00 07:00 08:00 09:00 10:00 11:00 12:00 13:00 14:00 15:00 16:00 17:00 18:00 19:00 20:00 21:00 22:00 23:00 11

12 Contents Background Practices the view from here Tracking them down TimeTraces TechnoTraces Challenges 12

13 TechnoTraces: Practice Hunting Inspiration: Qualitative study of telephone calling Lacohee & Anderson (2000) Interacting with the telephone, doi: /ijhcs Call types Duty calls: generally to family members and were made because the caller felt a sense of duty to keep in touch Maintenance calls: real motivation was to maintain a friendship Grapevine calls: a series of calls often prompted by a call e.g. passing on news Batch calls: making a series of outgoing calls e.g. cheap rate, bored or lonely Question: can we identify them in a call records dataset? c. 1.5 million incoming/outgoing phone call records (time, duration) linked to surveys of c 1000 GB households

14 TechnoTraces: Practice Hunting Algorithm: Sequence identifier Flexible gap parameter Batch calls (Out, Out, Out ) 20:00 -> late Not Thursdays or Fridays Sunday evenings Grapevine calls (In, Out, Out ) 18:00 19:30 Sunday evenings Source: BT HomeOnline Survey (2000), n calls ~= 1.5 million from c. 310 households Data processing by Dr David Hunter (ECS, University of Essex) 14

15 TechnoTraces: Practice Hunting Contrasts Requires Labeled data Source: BT HomeOnline Survey (2000), n calls ~= 1.5 million from c. 310 households Data processing by Dr David Hunter (ECS, University of Essex) 15

16 TechnoTraces: Applied to energy? Contrasting gas consumption Gas consumption per 5 minutes, identical dwellings in South East UK, same street, both couples with 3 children, male partner working, female partner not December 2012 February 2013 Source: EPSRC DANCER Project baseline gas consumption monitoring - 16

17 Using linked mixed methods? E.g. TechnoTraces & TimeTraces! Electricity Electricity Gas Source: Small scale energy diary and consumption monitoring study lead by Kathryn Buchanan, University of Essex 17

18 Contents Background Practices the view from here Tracking them down TimeTraces TechnoTraces Challenges 18

19 Big Data Challenges Provenance: Who did what to my data? Quality: It s never clean Samples What (or who) does it represent? Sampling Do we really need it all? And the bigger it is the harder to clean It might be big but is it clever? Are people the only agents? Linkage Multiple methods & multiple views What & why? 19

20 Thank you 20

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