The 'skin' of commerce: packaging, consumption and the public's health
"A wine label is like the cover of a book. It might catch your eye and so you read the back, but if you don’t like what the blurb says, you’re not going to buy the book" - salesman, specialty wine shop
"People prefer standard bottles because it allows them to understand how much they are drinking" - salesman, specialty wine shop
Visual cues like graphic warning labels and generic packaging are increasingly seen as important weapons against unhealthy forms of consumption – especially in the areas of tobacco control, and, increasingly, alcohol reduction and obesity prevention. However, public health interventions tend to ignore the physical qualities of packaging in favour of its visual attributes as a marketing tool.
A thriving array of studies in the social sciences on the material politics of packaging therefore offer new analytic directions for conceptualising its relationship with the everyday activities of eating, drinking and smoking by drawing attention to its powerful material role in shaping the circulation of goods and the meanings they hold. This project aims to develop new methodological approaches and original empirical data on the relationship between drinking patterns and the containerisation of alcohol.
A selection of interim study results from interviews are presented here.