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“Doing value” – Modelling of useful life based on social practices

Hipp, Tamina N.

FG Transdisziplinäre Nachhaltigkeitsforschung in der Elektronik

The extension of product lifetimes is discussed as an important aspect of sustainable consumption. So far, models explaining lifetimes of devices are predominantly user-oriented and are based on a methodological individualism. Systemic interrelationships are underestimated due to an overemphasis on individual room for manoeuvre. This paper presents a model to explain the useful life of devices, which – with recourse to practice theory – is taking technological change, the context of use and the setting of actions into account. The model is based on qualitative interviews that were analysed using grounded theory. At the core of the model are valuation processes that are located in the interactions with the devices and carried out against the background of context of use. Based on sociology of evaluation, it is explained how the value of a devices is produced, reproduced, increased or decreased until they are replaced. Using mobile phones as an example, two types of forms of practice are presented and it is it derived how longevity might be promoted.