Microplastics by other means? How microplastics can be a tool for inter/trans-disciplinary engagement

by Sarah Schönbauer & Sven Bergmann

Although there is more and more data about plastic particles in the environment, the impact of microplastic particles on the ecosystem, wildlife and the human body is still unexplored. However, the potential effect of such particles has become a core concern in our contemporary societies, tangible in the far-reaching media coverage or in scientific conferences specifically devoted to engage with microplastics.

In one of such conferences, the Micro2018 in Lanzarote (1) Richard Thompson, professor of biological and marine sciences at the University of Plymouth and the eponym of the term microplastics, gave a keynote. He claimed that besides the unquestionably important role of the natural sciences, the social sciences too should play an important role in future research on plastic particles in the environment. He encouraged social scientists to take part in conferences such as the Micro2018, and stated that this involvement would be beneficial for the overall engagement with microplastics. While we, two scholars in the social and cultural sciences, specifically in the field of cultural anthropology and Science and Technology Studies (STS), think that this is an important claim indeed, we also think that a closer involvement needs to be specified.


Microplastics from Lanzarote © Sarah Schönbauer

Continue reading “Microplastics by other means? How microplastics can be a tool for inter/trans-disciplinary engagement”

Tidal Cultures: An Introduction

by Owain Jones
The Tidal Cultures blog was started as part of a UK – Dutch research project conducted from 2012-2015. This was the Netherlands Organisation for Scientific Research (NWO) Arts and Humanities Research Council (UK) Humanities Research Networking and Exchange Scheme; “Between the Tides”:  Comparative arts and humanities approaches to living with(in) intertidal landscapes in UK & the Netherlands. Learning from those who live and work with complexity, change and fragility’: Dr Owain Jones; Countryside and Community Institute; and  Dr. Bettina van Hoven, Department of Cultural Geography, Faculty of Spatial Sciences, University of Groningen.

severn bridge004v2

Severn Bridge, circa 1979 (c) Owain Jones.

Continue reading “Tidal Cultures: An Introduction”