Addressing plastics can feel overwhelming. Guilt, shame, anger, hurt, fear, dismissiveness, and despair abound. Beyond Straw Men moves beyond “hot take” or straw man fallacies by illustrating how affective counterpublics mobilized around plastics reveal broader stories about environmental justice and social change. Inspired by on- and offline organizing in the Global South and the Global South of the North, Phaedra C. Pezzullo engages public controversies and policies through analysis of hashtag activism, campaign materials, and podcast interviews with headline-making advocates in Bangladesh, Kenya, the United States, and Vietnam. She argues that plastics have become an articulator of crisis and an entry point into the contested environmental politics of carbon-heavy masculinity, carceral policies, planetary fatalism, eco-ableism, greenwashing, marine life endangerment, pollution colonialism, and waste imperialism. Attuned to plastic attachments, Beyond Straw Men illustrates how everyday people resist unsustainable patterns of the plastics-industrial complex through imperfect but impactful networked cultures of care.
Beyond Straw Men Plastic Pollution and Networked Cultures of Care
About the Book
Reviews"Beyond Straw Men compares the very different but interlocking national and international tensions that arise during hashtag activism and counteractivism around plastic pollution in Kenya, the United States, and Vietnam. It provides a multisited geographic approach to describing a global (yet local!) problem in a heterogeneous political world."—Max Liboiron, Memorial University of Newfoundland and Labrador, and author of Pollution Is Colonialism
"Phaedra C. Pezzullo has produced a revelatory and revolutionary meditation on one of the most significant power struggles of our time. Beyond Straw Men features a caring and deep appreciation for the complexities, flaws, and beauty of the 'impure politics' surrounding plastic pollution, while centering the perspectives and experiences of Global South communities, environmental justice and disability justice advocates, and our more-than-human relatives. Her sources of evidence are solid, her arguments are persuasive, and her writing is at once engaging, serious, humorous, and uplifting. A delightful book to sit with and be inspired by in these challenging times!"—David N. Pellow, University of California, Santa Barbara, and author of What Is Critical Environmental Justice?