McKay, DCC and Perez, PL (2018) Plastic masculinity: How everyday objects in plastic suggest men could be otherwise. Journal of Material Culture, 23 (2). pp. 169-186. ISSN 1359-1835

[thumbnail of Plastic masculnity submission version Nov 17.docx] Text
Plastic masculnity submission version Nov 17.docx - Accepted Version
Available under License Creative Commons Attribution Non-commercial.

Download (67kB)


Material things always make statements about people’s identities. For indigenous Filipino men, making baskets asserts identities rich in culture and in non-market values. This article examines basketry backpacks that were part of the pre-colonial material culture of ethnic groups known as Igorot. When made from rattan, these baskets are recognized as tribal art or heritage items. When made from plastic by contemporary artisans, they are problematic objects that subvert dominant constructs of masculinity. Featuring bright colours – pink, red and yellow – from the detritus of goldmining, these basketry forms point to the plasticity of masculinity itself. By working in plastic, their makers appropriate the cultural history of plastic to subvert the constructions of authenticity, class, ethnicity and gender, suggesting how masculinity could be otherwise. Here, plastic has a cultural potency of its own, with important implications for initiatives to manage or recycle waste materials or create innovative design. Because plastic carries its problematic history and malleability into the objects made from it in ways that reshape categories of meaning and subjectivities, plastic is never just a neutral substrate for artisans’ self-expression but the active co-producer of dynamic distinctions between sacred and profane, global and indigenous, that fold back in on each other.

Item Type: Article
Additional Information: This is the accepted author manuscript (AAM). The final published version (version of record) will be available online via Sage Publications at - please refer to any applicable terms of use of the publisher.
Uncontrolled Keywords: Igorot, indigenous people, materiality, Philippines, plastic, ontology
Subjects: G Geography. Anthropology. Recreation > GN Anthropology
Divisions: Faculty of Natural Sciences > School of Geography, Geology and the Environment
Depositing User: Symplectic
Date Deposited: 17 Nov 2017 12:14
Last Modified: 25 Mar 2019 15:35

Actions (login required)

View Item
View Item