History of bottled water focus of new book

Plastic Water book cover 

A book co-authored by a Western Sydney University cultural researcher takes a new look at bottled water to investigate how markets for the product were developed, and how the new habit of constant sipping actually emerged.

Plastic Water by Professor Gay Hawkins from the Institute for Culture and Society, Kane Race from Sydney University and Emily Potter from Deakin University, is being launched at Gleebooks on November 25, at 6pm.

"This landmark study is the outcome of an ARC project, and is of major interest to all those concerned about the future of water, the global plastics waste crisis and the rise of markets for essential resources that should be shared," says Professor Hawkins.

She says the book goes beyond the usual political and environmental critiques of bottled water to investigate its simultaneous existence as a personal health resource, an object of boycotts, and part of accumulating waste matter.

"Plastic Water 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," says Professor Hawkins.

"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 also 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."

Plastic Water will be launched November 25 at 6pm at Gleebooks.


19 November 2015

Mark Smith, Senior Media Officer

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