Materials like concrete, plastic, steel, and aluminium are important parts of the materiality of the welfare state, but unfortunately, these non-human actors have often been overlooked in the historiography outside literature focusing on the materials themselves. To deal with this lacuna and with an outset in new materialism, this paper perceives aluminium as an active participant in creating the welfare state. Concretely, it looks into how the metal has been perceived and used and how such perceptions and uses have been intertwined with notions of ’the good society’ from 19th century dreams of a wonder material to 20th century discussions about environmental issues. In short, the paper discusses how aluminium as a ‘natural’ resource has been translated into new infrastructure.A central case will be the so-called can war between Denmark and the European Community regarding a Danish ban on metal cans for beverages. The war ended in 2002 with the implementation of a can deposit system. The case highlights one of the many ways in which aluminium has been regulated as infrastructured nature.
|Number of pages||18|
|Publication status||Published - 2022|
|Event||European Society for Environmental History Conference 2022: Same Planet, Different Worlds: Environmental Histories Imagining Anew - University of Bristol , Bristol, United Kingdom|
Duration: 4 Jul 2022 → 8 Jul 2022
|Conference||European Society for Environmental History Conference 2022|
|Location||University of Bristol|
|Period||04/07/2022 → 08/07/2022|