From sandcastles to concrete jungles: researching the sand industry in Victoria, Australia
AffiliationSchool of Geography
Document TypeMasters Coursework thesis
Access StatusOnly available to University of Melbourne staff and students, login required
© 2020 Sophie Gosch
Carr and Gibson (2016) call for renewed attention to resources which constitute the making of our modern world. I respond to their call by focusing on sand, a primary ingredient in concrete and the making of the contemporary urban form. A critical but under-studied resource, sand requires further research attention and to address this gap, I conducted fieldwork from June to August 2020 into the sand industry in Victoria, Australia. Research included conducting semi-structured interviews, participant mapping, and site observations. I approached this research by bringing together two key frameworks to illuminate the human and non-human actors involved in the production of sand as a resource. First, I deployed frameworks on the tracing or ‘following’ of commodities (Cook et al., 2004; Tsing, 2015). Second, I looked to the literature on 'becoming' a resource (Zimmermann, 1933). This research approach enabled me to not only identify some key actors in Victoria’s sand trade, but also helped to outline the sand production network, from sites of survey and extraction, to consumption and recycling. In outlining the production network of sand, I was also able to show how sand ‘becomes’ a natural resource, attending to both human and nonhuman actors. The key argument I put forward is that a critical part of attending to the production network and the ‘becoming’ of sand is identification of the rhythms and changes in form that it undergoes as it moves across the production network. In doing so, this thesis aims to extend literature on human environment relations to the realm of sand and the sand industry.
Keywordssand; becoming; follow the thing; resource; nonhuman; production network; Victoria
- Click on "Export Reference in RIS Format" and choose "open with... Endnote".
- Click on "Export Reference in RIS Format". Login to Refworks, go to References => Import References