King's College London

Research portal

Making space for ‘the social’: Connecting sociology and professional practices in urban lighting design

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Joanne Entwistle, Don Slater

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)2020-2041
Number of pages22
JournalThe British journal of sociology
Issue number5
Early online date12 Mar 2019
Publication statusPublished - 1 Dec 2019

King's Authors


Lighting is increasingly recognized as a significant social intervention by both
lighting professionals and academic social scientists. However, what counts as
‘the social’ is diverse and contested, with consequences for what kind of ‘social’
is performed or invented. Based on a long-term research programme, we argue
that collaboration between sociologists and lighting professionals requires negotiating discourses and practices of ‘the social’. This paper explores the quality and kinds of spaces made for ‘the social’ in professional practices and academic collaborations, focusing on two case studies of urban lighting that demonstrate how the space of ‘the social’ is constrained and impoverished by an institutionalized division between technical and aesthetic lighting. We consider the potential role of sociologists in making more productive spaces for ‘the social’ in urban
design, as part of the central sociological task of ‘inventing the social’ (Marres,
Guggenheim and Wilkie 2018) in the process of studying it.

View graph of relations

© 2018 King's College London | Strand | London WC2R 2LS | England | United Kingdom | Tel +44 (0)20 7836 5454