Accepted Paper:

Sorting out the particles: following nano-particulates and their mobilities  


Gordon Walker (Lancaster University)

Paper short abstract:

Particles ubiquitously circulate and accumulate and are central to the politics of air quality. We follow ongoing developments in the science of particulate toxicity and mobility focusing on how nano-particles travel to and accumulate in the brain and the complex implications that are emerging.

Paper long abstract:

Particles ubiquitously circulate and accumulate within environments, life-worlds and biologies, and in their diversity of size, material and chemical constitution present varying forms and degrees of potential for harm. Particles have long been central to the politicisation of air quality and human health, and the science of particles has progressively developed an understanding of how source, size and form matters for how particular particulate categories behave, how they are mobile and where within the body they travel to and with what potential consequence. And as regulatory measures have progressively borne down on larger more visible particles, new techniques for revealing the invisibilities of their smaller counterparts have emerged, destabilising previous understandings of how particle size does and doesn't matter why, where and to whom. In this paper, we follow ongoing interactions between the science of particulate mobility and the unequal consequences of inhalation in space and time, focusing in particular on recent developments that show how nano-particulates travel to and accumulate in the brain. This new liminality has the potential to open up new differentiated patterns of vulnerability, political concern and implication, and new sites of contestation and public making

Panel A20
Chemical entanglements: exploring ontologies at the atomic level