Framing pollution

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter (peer-reviewed)peer-review


Social scientists argue that what constitutes ‘pollution’ is far from obvious and is rather a complex and dynamic process. Emerging issues such as microplastics pollution become subject to considerable struggles for definition that owe as much to political and social forces as scientific research. This section reflects on the complexity of pollution and how the issue is intertwined with culturally specific ideas about waste classification as well as wider questions related to societal inequalities and power. Analyses of how pollution is framed and conceptualised— whether as ‘matter out of place’, caused by poor waste management by consumers or as an inevitable by-product of a capitalist system can provide us with useful lenses through which to explore overarching debates concerning the shifting relationship between humans and nature and science and society. More recent research highlights how pollution must be addressed alongside issues of social justice, environmental racism and the power dynamics of a global industrial economy.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationEncyclopaedia of Health Research in the Social Sciences
EditorsKevin Dew, Sarah Donovan
Place of PublicationCheltenham
Number of pages7
ISBN (Electronic)9781800885691
Publication statusPublished - 28 Dec 2023


  • pollution
  • plastic pollution
  • microplastics
  • power
  • discard studies
  • environmental justice


Dive into the research topics of 'Framing pollution'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this