Queen's Quarterly

Queen's Quarterly
Queen's Quarterly

Fatbergs of London

Mike Michael

Fall 2020 - Fatbergs of London



In September 2017 a fatberg weighing around 130 tonnes with a length of over 250 metres was discovered in a Whitechapel sewer. A first reading of media reports would suggest that people reacted to this London fatberg with horror and disgust. The fatberg brought to people’s attention a variety of excreta and effluvia, of human wastes and weaknesses. But, on closer reading, the fatberg eventually also invited shame, pride, admiration, and even pleasure …


Mike Michael is a sociologist of science and technology and a professor at the Department of Sociology, Philosophy and Anthropology at the University of Exeter, UK. Recent major publications include (co-authored with Andy Boucher et al.) Energy Babble: Entangling Design and STS (Mattering Press, 2018) and Actor-Network Theory: Trials, Trails and Translations (SAGE, 2017).