Gay Hawkins has published widely on cultural engagements with the environment, practices of everyday life, media policy and institutions and theories of materiality and political processes. She brings to this research an innovative interdisciplinary approach that is concerned with the intersections between cultural and material practices and forms of rule. Gay is currently completing a collaborative ARC Discovery project and book on the global rise of bottled water. The book Plastic Water (under contract to MIT Press) documents the ways in which bottled water markets have emerged, how bottles are impacting on tap water provision and the implications of accumulating plastic waste on environments and bodies. In a recent ARC Linkage project Gay worked with Professor Ien Ang from UWS, Lamia Dabboussy and the Special Broadcasting Service (SBS), investigating the history and cultural impacts of this unique multicultural broadcaster. This research resulted in the book: The SBS Story: the challenge of cultural diversity (2008). Gay is also known for her research into waste habits and everyday life. Books in this area include The Ethics of Waste: how we relate to rubbish (2006) and Culture and Waste: the creation and destruction of value, co-edited with Stephen Muecke (2002).
Her research interests are focused in the following areas:
- Cultural engagements with the environment
- Theories of materiality and political process
- Public service media transformations
- Water and waste practices and politics
- Everyday life, habits and sensibilities
- Markets and publics