Behaviour is in the Practice: Examining Excessive Behaviours using a Practice Framework

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The concept of “addictive” or excessive behaviours (EBs) has become an object of discussion, treatment, scientific investigation, and controversy. Much of the current research on EBs has utilized an etiological biomedical disease model for understanding EBs, with little focus on the actual practices of EBs, the relational trajectories sustaining EBs, and everyday lives in which EBs are enacted. In this dissertation I conceptualized EBs using a practice framework to show how EBs are reproduced, relationally grounded, and situated in practice networks in everyday life. A practice framework enabled me zoom in to the particularities of the practice, to understand the complex trajectories within the process – and zoom out to see the larger networks of practices influencing and sustaining the practice. Through this research, I also learned about participants’ co-occurring recovery practices that furnished preferred networks of practices. I analyzed 15 participant interviews using a focused ethnographic approach (Higginbottom, 2013; Knoblauch, 2005) and drew from practice theory (e.g., Kemmis, Edwards-Groves, Wilkinson, & Hardy, 2012; Nicolini, 2013; Schatzki, 2012), discursive research (Berger & Luckmann, 1966; Potter, 1997), positioning theory (Harré & van Langenhove, 1991), research in affective embodied practices (Lock, 1993; Wetherell, 2012), and Actor Network Theory (Latour, 2005). Based on this analysis, I depicted how food options, Internet features, game and phone design (“things”) played an integral role in the trajectories of EB practices. I illustrated how ability, availability, and the presence of people (“place”) were practice-contingent. I discerned discourses (superstition, normativity, addiction) that were reported important for enacting, explaining, directing, and resisting EB practices. Finally, I attended to larger networks of component practices, to map out the various other life practices that facilitate, support, sustain, or restrict and block EBs. In addition, I shared the intentional and naturally occurring recovery practices which participants engaged. This study offers contributions to addiction theory and research, and counselling practice.
Educational Psychology, Psychology--Clinical
Mudry, T. (2016). Behaviour is in the Practice: Examining Excessive Behaviours using a Practice Framework (Doctoral thesis, University of Calgary, Calgary, Canada). Retrieved from doi:10.11575/PRISM/25104