‘Garbage Patch’ e-flows: Exploring on-line plastics in the ocean knowledge politics

Title: ‘Garbage Patch’ e-flows: Exploring on-line plastics in the ocean knowledge politics
Authors: Gaudet, Joanne J.
Date: 2012-07-23
Abstract: Garbage landfills are not generally construed as aesthetically pleasing. Even though the user-landfill relationship is typically mediated in Western societies (through complex institutional arrangements), landfills can still elicit vivid imagery and olfactory sensations with acknowledgement of a user relationship. What of plastics in the ocean, or more precisely, the North Pacific Subtropical Gyre Eastern Garbage Patch (Garbage Patch)? This particular trash problem precludes direct sensory experience and understanding of the link between the ‘user’ (that inadvertently or intentionally introduces plastics in waterways) and plastics in the Garbage Patch. I argue this renders investigation of Garbage Patch knowledge flows on the internet especially pertinent. In this way, the internet can be understood as a social environment for competing knowledge claim flows. From a social constructionist perspective and using empirical data gathered from domain name registration, search engine rankings and the IssueCrawler tool I investigate Garbage Patch knowledge politics on the internet. With this exploratory study I hope to contribute to (1) dialogue on how competing stakeholders produce and reproduce their e-presence and e-networks in an attempt to dominate Garbage Patch e-flows, and (2) gain insights on how the respective e-social networks mirror 'material world’ social networks and issue dynamics.
URL: http://hdl.handle.net/10393/23094
CollectionSociologie et anthropologie // Sociology and Anthropology - Publications