The Material Politics of Plastic
Edited by Jennifer Gabrys, Gay Hawkins, Mike Michael
Routledge – 2014 – 242 pages
From food punnets to credit cards, plastic facilitates every part of our daily lives. It has become central to processes of contemporary socio-material living. Universalised and abstracted, it is often treated as the passive object of political deliberations, or a problematic material demanding human management. But in what ways might a 'politics of plastics' deal with both its specific manifestation in particular artefacts and events, and its complex dispersed heterogeneity?
Accumulation explores the vitality and complexity of plastic. This interdisciplinary collection focuses on how the presence and recalcitrance of plastic reveals the relational exchanges across human and synthetic materialities. It captures multiplicity by engaging with the processual materialities or plasticity of plastic. Through a series of themed essays on plastic materialities, plastic economies, plastic bodies and new articulations of plastic, the editors and chapter authors examine specific aspects of plastic in action. How are multiple plastic realities enacted? What are their effects?
This book will be of interest to students and scholars of sociology, human and cultural geography, environmental studies, consumption studies, science and technology studies, design, and political theory.
Introduction: From Materiality to Plasticity by Jennifer Gabrys, Gay Hawkins and Mike Michael Part I: Plastic Materialities 1. Plastics, Materials and Dreams of Dematerialization by Bernadette Bensaude Vincent 2. Process and Plasticity: Printing, Prototyping and the Prospects of Plastic by Mike Michael Part II: Plastic Economies 3. Made to Be Wasted: PET and Topologies of Disposability by Gay Hawkins 4. The Material Politics of Vinyl: How the State, Industry and Citizens Created and Transformed West Germany’s Consumer Democracy by Andrea Westermann 5. Paying With Plastic: The Enduring Presence of the Credit Card by Joe Deville Part III: Plastic Bodies 6. The Death and Life of Plastic Surfaces: Mobile Phones by Tom Fisher 7. Reflections of an Unrepentant Plastiphobe: An Essay on Plasticity and the STS Life by Jody A. Roberts 8. Plasticizers: A Twenty-First Century Miasma by Max Liboiron 9. Plastics, the Environment and Human Health by Richard Thompson Part IV: New Articulations 10. Where Does This Stuff Come From? Oil, Plastic and the Distribution of Violence by James Marriott and Mika Minio-Paluello 11. International Pellet Watch: Studies of the Magnitude and Spatial Variation of Chemical Risks Associated with Environmental Plastics by Shige Takada 12. Plastic and the Work of the Biodegradable by Jennifer Gabrys
Jennifer Gabrys is Senior Lecturer in Sociology at Goldsmiths, University of London, and Principal Investigator on the ERC-funded project ‘Citizen sensing and environmental practice’.
Gay Hawkins is a Professorial Research Fellow in social and cultural theory and Director of theCentre for Critical and Cultural Studies at the University of Queensland, Brisbane, Australia.
Mike Michael is Professor of Sociology and Social Policy at the University of Sydney.