I feel like the only person in the world who hasn’t yet watched Squid Game – 111 million people have tuned in to the suspenseful Korean TV thriller, setting a new series launch record for Netflix. I’m certainly not immune from streaming platforms’ power to influence my viewing habits, I just prefer a “British comedy based on a book” (Paddington) or a “visually-striking mind-bending drama” (The Prestige). These are just two of the thousands of hyper-specific genres that Netflix and other platforms use to guide us to “personalised” recommendations. Sociologist David Beer describes the impact of this as the “classificatory imagination”, explaining his theory about how streaming platforms are shaping our tastes and identities.

Anyone recognise this line from an Oscar-winning romantic comedy-drama? “I just wanna say one word to you: plastics”. (Answer: The Graduate). The way we recycle plastic has serious structural problems that are actually leading to more plastic pollution. Experts on environmental management offer some solutions.

Recent global discussions about racial injustice have highlighted the longlasting impact that slavery has had, particularly in the US. Less discussed are the experiences of Black people who were freed from slavery. An expert takes a look at their history, and how it provided a blueprint for the inequalities that persist for Black people in the US today.

Avery Anapol

Commissioning Editor

pixinoo / Shutterstock

How Netflix affects what we watch and who we are – and it’s not just the algorithm

David Beer, University of York

Streaming platforms have introduced to thousands of hyper-specific categories and genres that shape our tastes.

Global plastic supply chains have been altered by COVID-19. Filmbetrachter/Pixabay

The plastic recycling system is broken – here’s how we can fix it

Eleni Iacovidou, Brunel University London; Norman Ebner, University of Oxford

The problem of increasing plastic waste has been exacerbated by the pandemic, requiring better regulation and monitoring to solve.

Sojourner Truth, born in 1797, was an escaped slave who became an abolitionist, civil and women’s rights campaigner, and met with Abraham Lincoln. Massachusetts Office of Travel & Tourism/Flickr

How the experience of Black people freed from slavery set a pattern for African Americans today

Nik Ribianszky, Queen's University Belfast

Escaping slavery did not result in unconditional freedom.

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