Accepted Paper:

Banning the bottle: movement and local water  

Author:

Rachel Begg (Concordia University)

Paper short abstract:

I explore how various actors gathered around bottled water when a ban was put into place in Concord MA. What happens when some residents attempt to minimize the distance that their local water travels, and when some residents wish to maintain the freedom to decide from where they source their water?

Paper long abstract:

This paper explores how various actors gathered around plastic bottled water when a ban was put into place in Concord, Massachusetts in 2013. The objective has been to answer the following questions: What happens when some residents of a small town attempt to minimize the distance that their local water travels, and when some residents wish to maintain the freedom to decide from where they source their water? I use Bruno Latour to show in which ways this ban became a matter of concern, as well as how the ban and the plastic bottle are actors. I conducted fieldwork in Concord and I interviewed proponents of the ban, those opposed to it, as well as local business owners affected by it. The discussions turned from the impact of bottled water on our environment to the political impact of bottled water companies and large corporations on local Concord issues. I demonstrate that through debates and an ensuing ban on the sale of plastic bottles of water, the bottle itself moved from being an apolitical commodity to become a highly political one. This allows us to analyze the impact this shift has on the movement of water on both a local and a global scale.

Panel LL-FWF02
Minimize the movement: producing and consuming local food