Flip-Flop : A Journey Through Globalisation's Backroads

4.14 (7 ratings by Goodreads)
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*Shortlisted for the BBC Radio 4 Thinking Allowed Award for Ethnography 2015*

This book follows the global trail of one of the world's most unremarkable and ubiquitous objects - flip-flops. Through this unique lens, Caroline Knowles takes a ground level view of the lives and places of globalisation's back roads, providing new insights that challenge contemporary accounts of globalisation.

Rather than orderly product chains, the book shows that globalisation along the flip-flop trail is a tangle of unstable, shifting, ad hoc and contingent connections. This book displays both the instabilities of the 'chains' and the complexities, personal topographies and skills with which people navigate these global uncertainties.

Flip-Flop provides new ways of thinking about globalisation from the vantage point of the shifting landscape crossed by a seemingly ordinary and everyday commodity.
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Product details

  • Hardback | 232 pages
  • 135 x 215 x 20.32mm | 439.98g
  • London, United Kingdom
  • English
  • 0745334121
  • 9780745334127

Table of contents



1. Navigating the Territories of the Trail

2. Oil - Maps Beneath the Sand

3. Choreographies of Petrochemistry

4. Plastic City

5. Plastic Village

6. Making Flip-Flops

7. Logistics, Borderlands and Uncertain Landings

8. Markets

9. Urban Navigation in Flip-Flops

10. Rubbish

11. Globalisation Revisited


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Review quote

'If you are invited to Davos, shiny shoes, high heels or ski boots may be in order. For understanding much of the rest of the world, Caroline Knowles shows, you think better with flip-flops' -- Ulf Hannerz, Emeritus Professor of Social Anthropology, Stockholm University 'A journey through globalisation's backroads ... Innovative, insightful, and by turns disturbing and inspiring' -- Professor Craig Calhoun, Director of the London School of Economics and Political Science
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About Caroline Knowles

Caroline Knowles is Professor of Sociology at Goldsmiths, University of London. She is the author of Flip-Flop: A Journey Through Globalisation's Backroads (Pluto, 2014).
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Rating details

7 ratings
4.14 out of 5 stars
5 29% (2)
4 57% (4)
3 14% (1)
2 0% (0)
1 0% (0)
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