Developing Ecofeminist Theory: The Complexity of Difference

Pdf Developing Ecofeminist Theory The Complexity Of Difference
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Add to Wishlist. Ships in 15 business days. Link Either by signing into your account or linking your membership details before your order is placed. Description Table of Contents Product Details Click on the cover image above to read some pages of this book! Industry Reviews ' All Rights Reserved.

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About a Girl Order a signed copy! In Stock. Fixed It Order a signed copy! Where Did My Libido Go? Reckoning A Memoir. Women Kind. Boys Will Be Boys Power, patriarchy and the toxic bonds of mateship. We Should All be Feminists. Rebel Women Who Changed Australia. Women's Work Personal reckoning with labour, motherhood, and However, whilst almost everyone is in agreement about the symptoms, the diagnoses vary widely and the treatment to be prescribed varies even more. Should this crisis lead not us to rethink the whole idea of development and ask questions about our relationship with the natural world?

It is not my intention here to offer a critical analysis of ecofeminism, which covers a wide range of projects in which it would be impossible to identify a common and consistent philosophical corpus. Indeed, these projects amount to a wide variety of quite distinct approaches, ranging from materialist feminist theory applied to the context of the distribution of environmental wealth, 2 to more spiritual versions based on veneration of a feminine principle in the universe as represented by the goddess Gaia.

I shall outline this convergence from three angles: epistemological, moral and social. From an epistemological viewpoint, the age-old masculine dominance in the field of scientific research has influenced the way in which bodies of knowledge and methods of investigation have evolved and been given a direction that does not lend itself to an understanding of ecological phenomena. From the moral viewpoint, paternalism and anthropocentrism exert a double domination: that of men over women and that of human beings over the natural world. From the social standpoint, a number of feminists in the South have played a major role in raising awareness of the dangers and injustices that the degradation of the environment has inflicted upon the most disadvantaged peoples.

I shall conclude by pointing out certain limitations in any ecofeminist analysis.

Pdf Developing Ecofeminist Theory The Complexity Of Difference

Feminist epistemology is a field of research that emerged at the beginning of the s. Several different currents can be found within it 4 and here I shall limit myself to pointing out a few key features of these approaches that can throw light on questions concerning the environment.

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An original exploration of how the relationship between society and 'nature' is conceptualized, focusing on theories of social exclusion and difference. A comprehensive overview of feminist and environmental theories of society-environment relations, considering the range of. Request PDF on ResearchGate | Developing Ecofeminist Theory: The Complexity of Difference | An original exploration of how the relationship between society.

Feminist epistemology is based on a critical approach to masculine domination in the field of the sciences, a domination that has for a long time manifested itself in the form of exclusion or discrediting of women scientists. Even though this initial obstacle may be tending to diminish, it still remains in the form of the privileged position enjoyed by a mode of investigation and thinking that feminists would regard as inherently masculine. This is not the place to examine whether there is or is not a feminine mode of thought distinct from the masculine mode and, if there is, whether such a difference is be innate, naturally acquired or socially constructed. One may nevertheless allow that the age-old differentiation in social tasks and roles according to gender coincides with the development and prestige of different cognitive styles. For feminist epistemologists, masculine rationality is characterized by a mode of thinking that is objective, universalist and reductionist, whereas feminine rationality is said to be subjective, particularist and holistic.

Making a distinction of this kind is not tantamount to claiming that all women, and only women, have a homogeneous way of thinking that is different from that of men; it is rather a matter of describing a general tendency that aims to associate certain faculties to one gender or the other. Sex, masculine or feminine, does not determine gender absolutely and, quite often, the personality of an individual is a blend of masculine and feminine traits. For example, boldness or aggression are often associated with the male gender whilst fear or gentleness are supposedly more likely to be found in the female gender.

Towards a fruitful dialogue between feminism and ecology

Rationality itself, it is claimed, is not exempt from this kind of sexual assigning of qualities; it is held that there are different types of rationality, some more masculine, some more feminine. The point is not that rationality is claimed to be the distinguishing feature of men, or that they are more naturally endowed with it, thereby contrasting masculine rationality and feminine irrationality. On the contrary, the point is that, whilst both are rational, they may be so in terms of distinct cognitive approaches.

The ideal of objectivity and universality, inherited from modern science, still exerts a powerful influence. One of the corollaries of this view is the strict dichotomy it creates between the observing subject and the observed object. This tendency to objectivize what is being studied, to separate oneself from it, encourages the division that is often made between human beings on the one hand and the rest of the natural world on the other.

In fact, ways of thinking that are founded in empathy, a feeling of belonging and of likeness may provide a more appropriate way of understanding ecological phenomena, characterized as they are by the complex interrelationship of human and non-human phenomena. To the demand for objectivity, feminists oppose standpoint theory.

Its central idea is that any knowledge has a location that reflects the particular perspectives of the knowing subject. Because of the long exclusion of women from the field of science, the feminine point of view is alleged to have been neglected. Amongst the many variants of standpoint theory, the more extreme versions maintain that, on many subjects, the feminine viewpoint ought to be privileged. Whilst one may, in part, understand this proposition where it applies to studies that have a direct effect on women, it seems hard to justify in the context with which we are here concerned.

Less extreme versions, however, limit themselves to maintaining that having a multiplicity of viewpoints ensures better understanding of the phenomena to be studied. Thus, for example, feminine and feminist perspectives in the field of evolutionary biology 7 have made significant contributions to hypotheses relating to respective male and female mating strategies in animals.

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To universalism, feminists oppose particularism. In the context of the environment, the complexity of ecological phenomena, the unique nature of some situations and the interlinking of natural and human causes often mean that attempts to search for and apply general laws or principles proves to be in vain. For example, in the area of biodiversity protection, an approach based on case studies is much more satisfactory than theoretical ecology.

Finally, against reductionism, feminists uphold a holistic perspective, favouring a synthetic way of looking at phenomena in their totality rather than an approach that analyses and breaks them down into distinct parts.

Pdf Developing Ecofeminist Theory: The Complexity Of Difference

Although the point is still disputed, it seems ever more clear that, in ecology, reductionism is a dead end and that, for each of the various levels of organization of life cells, organisms, populations, communities, ecosystems there is a corresponding emergent property. The discoveries of Barbara McClintock in the genetics of populations provide a good illustration of the interest of such a holistic viewpoint. In her biography of McClintock, 10 Evelyn Fox Keller describes how McClintock discovered genetic transposition 11 in the mids by widening her view and looking beyond genes themselves.

This way of understanding the phenomenon was at that time inaccessible for most of her colleagues, with their noses stuck in test-tubes, and they greeted her discovery with great scepticism. The importance of her work only began to be recognized ten or so years later and it was in that McClintock was finally rewarded with the Nobel Prize for Medicine.

What is a Complex System?

It should, however, be noted that feminists are not the only ones to have put forward an alternative to the universalist paradigm in modern science. Among pragmatists or postmodernists, for example, one can find proposals that tend towards the same conclusions. A feminist analysis can provide an interesting perspective that makes clear the double domination exerted by men over women and over nature.

Carolyn Merchant has described the frequent association made between the concepts of nature and of femininity. Indeed it is possible to draw up a parallel between views of women and views of nature in the Judeo-Christian tradition.

  • anthroparchy!
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  • Sonalini Sapra.

Similarly, nature is generally viewed in relation to or in opposition to culture. Moreover it is assigned values associated with femininity: it may be virgin or fertile, if it is to bear fruit it must be seeded, it has to be tamed and kept in its place so that it does not threaten the social order.

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Thus, both femininity and nature are considered as the Other, chaos, the opposite of the order and rationality claimed to be embodied in masculine virtues. The way that nature is regarded may involve contradictions. It is often thought of as an empty space to be filled, a source of chaos that must be controlled, fallow land to be made fruitful, but untamed nature may also be idealized.

The romantic tradition and, even more so, the American preservationists, 13 venerate a kind of nature that is pure and virgin, nature as the only thing that can raise you above that culture that is viewed as mercenary and decadent. Such a view may appear to chime well with ecological considerations, but if one examines it closely, in no case does it make it possible to move towards a reconciliation between human beings and their natural environment. The way in which value is assigned may change but the idea of separation remains. In both kinds of view, nature is seen only in its relationship to man, either because he has to tame it, or because he must exclude himself from it in order to preserve its wild character.

If one extends the analogy between nature and femininity, a similar reversal of values may be noted with regard to femininity in Christian thought. But there is another, alternative image of woman: that of Mary, the Virgin, pure, sublime, deserving of all honours and veneration.

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This has a view for a patient video of analytic Anecdotal customizable elections. Eisler, R. Mellor, Mary. You are commenting using your WordPress. Several feminists make the distinction that it is not because women are female or "feminine" that they relate to nature, but because of their similar states of oppression by the same male-dominant forces.

Far from improving the general perception of women, the image of the Virgin crushes all those who are not virgins, reducing all secular women, therefore all real women, to a status that is ordinary and imperfect. The ecological crisis ought to lead us to reconsider our relationship with nature in general terms, not only the spectacular kind of nature, but real nature, nature as in our fields, towns, bodies and the animals that we subjugate. Western morality has traditionally considered that human beings may make use of nature as they wished, since its value was purely instrumental and was to be assessed in terms of the kinds of satisfaction that it could provide.