University of Tasmania

File(s) under permanent embargo

Toying with toxins : The global transference of toxic harms

posted on 2023-05-26, 01:39 authored by Heckenberg, D
This thesis provides a critique of the social and ideological processes that underpin the production, consumption and disposal of toys. In particular, it examines two high-profile cases involving toys containing lead and magnets. These cases are contextualized by a spate of global toy-related recalls between 2006 and 2008, peaking in 2007. The cases focus on four toy companies, one headquartered in Canada and three in the United States. This study examines the responses to unsafe toys, by toy companies in the west and their supply chain partners in China, through the lens of deviancy theory and critical criminology. The study found that there appears to be a scripted set of responses and strategies on the part of those doing the harm. This research is concerned with conceptualizing, observing and mapping global harms, in particular toxic harms, within the broad theoretical framework of 'green criminology', where a key precept is conceptualizations of harm that go beyond conventional legal definitions of crime. Informed by an environmental justice perspective, it asks which toxins affect which people, which places and whose natural landscapes and why? It engages with eco-global criminology's concerns with the ecological (environmental toxins), the global (worldwide movement of toxic harms) and issues of justice (biological, social and ecological consequences of those trajectories for people, places and nature). The study examined the flow of toxic harms across geographical and jurisdictional borders through the concept of transference. Transference refers to the movement of something (e.g. substance, activity) from one place or person (entity) to another. The research located transference within the growing interconnection of markets and the expanding flow of goods where different supply chain activities are located in particular countries and where human and ecological harms are also transferred. Denial and the use of particular techniques of neutralization on the part of those who produced and perpetuated harm in the production, consumption and disposal of toxic toys was a major concern and finding of this thesis.


Publication status

  • Unpublished

Rights statement

Copyright 2013 the Author

Repository Status

  • Restricted

Usage metrics

    Thesis collection


    No categories selected


    Ref. manager