Packaging water: plastic bottles as market and public devices

Hawkins, Gay (2011) Packaging water: plastic bottles as market and public devices. Economy and Society, 40 4: 534-552. doi:10.1080/03085147.2011.602295

Attached Files (Some files may be inaccessible until you login with your UQ eSpace credentials)
Name Description MIMEType Size Downloads

Author Hawkins, Gay
Title Packaging water: plastic bottles as market and public devices
Journal name Economy and Society   Check publisher's open access policy
ISSN 0308-5147
Publication date 2011-11-21
Sub-type Article (original research)
DOI 10.1080/03085147.2011.602295
Open Access Status
Volume 40
Issue 4
Start page 534
End page 552
Total pages 19
Place of publication Oxon, United Kingdom
Publisher Routledge
Collection year 2012
Language eng
Formatted abstract
The emergence of bottled water as one of the fastest growing markets in the global
beverage industry has attracted much attention, most of it negative. It seems that no
sooner had the plastic bottle of water appeared as a mass rather than a boutique
commodity than it became a matter of concern. A huge variety of activist campaigns
have sprung up against bottles, focusing on everything from plastic wastes to
chemical leaching. There is now no question that, in many places, diverse
environmental publics stalk this commodity. How then does the framing of bottled
water as a controversial issue interact with its markets? Using a range of examples,
this paper investigates Callon’s idea of markets as hybrid forums and key sites for the
proliferation of the social. However, rather than focus on the deliberative processes
of democracy the idea of hybrid forums is extended with an analysis of how affect,
vital materiality and the evanescence of publics can reveal the fecundity of an issue.
By sticking to the bottle the aim is to understand how, in particular arrangements,
the vital materialism of plastic can be unleashed, inviting consumers to reflect on its
origins and afterlife, long after games of value are exhausted. Analysis of affective
modulation and vital materialism extends debates in economic sociology in critical
ways. First, it shows how objects can acquire political capacity, how their material
force, or ‘thing-power’ as Jane Bennett calls it, can become ethically and politically
potent. Second, it reveals more-than-human politics and publics as often affective, as
caught up in the play of ontological meaning and disturbance.
Q-Index Code C1
Q-Index Status Confirmed Code
Institutional Status UQ

Document type: Journal Article
Sub-type: Article (original research)
Collections: Official 2012 Collection
Centre for Critical and Cultural Studies Publications
Version Filter Type
Citation counts: TR Web of Science Citation Count  Cited 11 times in Thomson Reuters Web of Science Article | Citations
Scopus Citation Count Cited 14 times in Scopus Article | Citations
Google Scholar Search Google Scholar
Created: Mon, 28 Nov 2011, 15:47:36 EST by Fergus Grealy on behalf of Centre for Critical and Cultural Studies