i3, une unité mixte de recherche CNRS (UMR 9217)

Institut Interdisciplinaire de l'Innovation

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Guest seminar
25 June 2019 • 11h-13h • Mines ParisTech • Room Saint Jacques


Gay Hawkins

Professor at Western Sidney University, Institute for Culture and Society

co-author with Emily Potter and Kane Race of the book

Plastic Water

The Social and Material Life of Bottled Water

Introduction to the discussion by Cornelius Heimstädt


How did branded bottles of water insinuate themselves into our daily lives? Why did water become an economic good—no longer a common resource but a commercial product, in industry parlance a “fast moving consumer good,” or FMCG? Plastic Water examines the processes behind this transformation. It goes beyond the usual political and environmental critiques of bottled water to investigate its multiplicity, examining a bottle of water’s simultaneous existence as, among other things, a product, personal health resource, object of boycotts, and part of accumulating waste matter. Throughout, the book focuses on the ontological dimensions of drinking bottled water—the ways in which this habit enacts new relations and meanings that may interfere with other drinking water practices.

The book considers the assemblage and emergence of a mass market for water, from the invention of the polyethylene terephthalate (PET) bottle in 1973 to the development of “hydration science” that accompanied the rise of jogging in the United States. It looks at what bottles do in the world, tracing drinking and disposal practices in three Asian cities with unreliable access to safe water: Bangkok, Chennai, and Hanoi. And it considers the possibility of ethical drinking, examining campaigns to “say no” to the bottle and promote the consumption of tap water in Canada, the United States, and Australia.

MIT Press, 2018

On peut lire aussi les traductions françaises « L’eau en bouteille. Marchés, matérialité et bio politiques. Introduction » et « De l’eau mise en bouteille. Chapitre 1 » parus dans la Revue d’anthropologie des connaissances 2018/4 (Vol. 12, N°4).


25 June 2019
11 h 00 min - 13 h 00 min
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Félix Boileve Clement Gasull


Mines ParisTech
60 Boulevard Saint-Michel
Paris, 75006 France
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