The Skin of Commerce - A seminar with Gay Hawkins

Welcome to The Skin of Commerce - A seminar with Gay Hawkins
Date: 2016-06-15
Time: 13:00-14:30
Place: Viktoriasalen, Viktoriagatan 13

During the 1950s there was an explosion in food and many other products wrapped in plastic. By the end of the 1960s a quarter of all the plastic produced was for packaging and that proportion has steadily increased since then. Wrapping more and more things up has been essential to plastics industry expansion, to the point where this material is now quite literally the skin of commerce. The paper presented at this seminar explores the social and political effects of this historical transformation. Two key questions will be examined. How did plastic become a market device: that is, something capable of reconfiguring food, retailing and consumer practices? And how did the interactions between plastic and food become problematized, how did plastic shift from being a mundane material to being a political material? The paper is titled: The Skin of Commerce: The Pragmatics and Politics of Plastic Food Packaging.

About Professor Gay Hawkins

Gay Hawkins is a Research Professor of Cultural Studies and Social Theory at the Institute for Culture and Society at Western Sydney University. One of Australia’s leading humanities research institutes. She is also a Fellow of the Australian Academy of Humanities. She has published widely on the ethics of waste, material cultures of plastic, the construction of markets, and water practices. Last year she published with co-authors Kane Race and Emily Potter, Plastic Water: the social and material life of bottled water (The MIT Press), a major international study into the emergence and effects of bottled water markets. In 2013 she published Accumulation: the material politics of plastic, co-edited with Jennifer Gabrys and Mike Michael (Routledge).

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