Matériaux & Techniques
Volume 105, Number 5-6, 2017
Society and Materials (SAM11)
|Number of page(s)||11|
|Published online||11 July 2018|
Society and materials: an interpretation of the subject in the light of sociology and gender
Laboratory of Citizenship Sciences,
* e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org
Accepted: 22 November 2017
The paper discusses the relevance of the link between gender and materials, in the framework of a more general reflection on the science-society relationship. In order to do this, the theoretical path is presented that the author and his colleagues followed, with the aim of using some concepts and theoretical and methodological approaches taken from social sciences for a better consideration of society and materials issues. The gender/materials connection does not appear to have been dealt with yet in a systematic way, although there are some interesting studies and insights. This connection instead appears very important in the light of a sociological reflection focusing on the relations among the social actors involved in the cycle of materials. The centrality of social actors within the processes that define the value chain and life cycle of products and materials is presented and, in this framework, the importance of design is stressed, together with other typical phenomena highlighted within social sciences such as closure or negotiation, power relations, etc. Particularly, considerations on gender appear important because they imply the possibility to include the different points of view, approaches and solutions of gender-diverse actors. Gender differences and gender related dynamics emerges as relevant in the definition of research priorities, in the analysis of needs, uses, and social and environmental impacts of materials and products is likely to limit the potential and distort the perspective of materials science. In this framework, existing data are presented that show that materials represent an area of scientific research (both academic and non-academic) where the under-representation of women is presently recorded and probably impacts on the materials sector as a whole. The proposed reflection on the relation between gender and materials is still a very initial one, but further research is advisable in light of the centrality of sustainable policy issues such as the Circular Economy (CE) where it is important to focus the attention on the role of social actors in the entire product cycle and not only in its final part (e.g., the purchase of consumer goods, their use, disposal, re-use, etc.). A further reflection on gender and materials could also be relevant for LCA.
Key words: gender / materials / materials and society / circular economy / social sciences / sociology / life cycle thinking / LCA
© EDP Sciences, 2018
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