The Bag and Beyond: Social Science and the Social Life of Plastic

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Concern around plastic pollution and China’s ban on receiving foreign waste and recyclate have refocused attention on responsible waste management and attracted interdisciplinary research that impacts policy and practice. Consequently, plastic has elevated the role of social science in the innovation space, which has traditionally been occupied by science and enterprise. This special collection deals with the social life of plastic. It highlights the value of humanities and social science approaches to tackling plastic waste, tracing the directions that the social science of waste and plastic has taken and can take in future. Concomitantly, it helps to steer discussions and collaborations away from the restricted realm of plastic bag consumption towards a deeper engagement with socio-material processes. We thus contribute to ensuring that the current anti-plastic zeitgeist is situated in space and time, and that potential solutions benefit from a rigorous examination of the multiplicity of plastics.

Guest editors: Brigitte Steger, Patrick O’Hare and Teresa Sandra Perez

Photo: Stuart Haygarth - TIDE(200). The Tide chandelier is made of 'man made' debris, primarily plastic, washed up on the coastline at Dungeness, Kent, UK.

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