The performativity of food packaging: market devices, waste crisis and recycling

Hawkins, Gay (2012) The performativity of food packaging: market devices, waste crisis and recycling. Sociological Review, 60 Suppl.2: 66-83. doi:10.1111/1467-954X.12038

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Author Hawkins, Gay
Title The performativity of food packaging: market devices, waste crisis and recycling
Journal name Sociological Review   Check publisher's open access policy
ISSN 0038-0261
Publication date 2012-12
Sub-type Article (original research)
DOI 10.1111/1467-954X.12038
Open Access Status
Volume 60
Issue Suppl.2
Start page 66
End page 83
Total pages 18
Place of publication West Sussex, United Kingdom
Publisher Wiley-Blackwell Publishing
Collection year 2013
Language eng
Formatted abstract
Packaging is central to the economic and cultural organization of food. This mundane material has become fundamental to extending shelf life, brand strategies, the qualities of food and more. From the early twentieth century, packaging has unarguably functioned as a market device, helping to assemble and extend food markets and transforming consumer practices. Over that century, packaging also became a major source of solid waste: filling up landfills, littering streets and clogging waterways around the world. The rise of the waste crisis in urban governance from the mid-1960s has been directly connected to the proliferation of food packaging. This paper takes the stuff of food packaging seriously. Here, I seek to understand its activity as both a market device and major waste problem, and aim to develop an analysis attentive to packaging's performative agency. Rather than see packaging as a passive instrument of economic processes or as an environmental problem, my focus is on how it is enrolled and performs in different arrangements, and also how it acquires the capacity to affect those arrangements in specific ways. A performative analysis focuses on how packaging becomes implicated in producing ontological effects: that is, how it brings new realities and practices into being that have socially
Keyword Packaging
Market device
Political materials
Q-Index Code C1
Q-Index Status Provisional Code
Institutional Status UQ

Document type: Journal Article
Sub-type: Article (original research)
Collections: Non HERDC
Centre for Critical and Cultural Studies Publications
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