Ecofeminism & Radical Green Thinking

What is “radical green thinking?”
• “Radical” is often associated with Left politics & philosophies • Inspired in some fashion by Marxist or Marxian approaches • Focuses on the relations of power expressed through material conditions of “social being”

All radical green thought originates in 19th century philosophies • Their roots are in liberalism • They are humanistic rather than organic • They derive from marxist & socialist theories • They tend to be somewhat economistic & materialistic .

women. minorities • Domination of labor leads to domination of nature • Accumulation of power & capital are parallel .Radical green thought sees domination as a primary problem • Modern society is primarily capitalist • Capitalism is driven by profit motive • Capitalism is based on surplus value • Surplus value comes from labor & nature • Labor comes in many forms: workers.

Power is embedded in specific social relations. which allows domination & exploitation .

Such relations of domination are present in many spheres of social life .

Who or what is responsible for such domination and injustice? • Capitalists. which legitimates & perpetuates hegemony by calling it “natural” . most of which perpetuates injustice through naturalization • Modernity. most of whom (but not all) are patriarchal through socialization • Society. which perpetuates illusion of management & control • Ideology. most of whom (but not all) are men though system logic • Men.

rather than a subject of our respect • This may be the result of material factors or ideological ones • The result is that nature is exploited & ultimately destroyed • “Second contradiction of capitalism” Radical green philosophies see such domination in human-nature relations. in particular.• Nature is an object of human desire. as a threat & injustice .

and the domination of nature by "man" . the domination of human by human. the environmental crisis arises out of the class and competitive elements of capitalism.Thus.

therefore.Does this. imply that nature will eventually rise up and overthrow human domination? Depends who you ask .

but in several varieties: The domination of women & nature are linked due to • Valuing of both as providing “free” resources • Deep institutionalization of patriarchal relations & property rights of men • Emphasis on rationality. which prizes calculation & demeans emotion • Naturalizes inferiority of both .Eco-feminism comes out of this philosophical vein.

Consider the following ecofeminisms: • Essentialist—accept the “caring” element in the mother-child relationship • Religious—restore pagan pantheist women’s worship • Post-modern—downgrade rationality as the measure of everyday life • Structuralist—critique & deconstruct naturalized power relations .

and not a contractual one • Boys are taught to demean this bond & be rational • Women must take the lead in restoring proper humannature relations .Essentialist eco-feminism (Nel Noddings) • Women are naturally more sensitive to nature • This is seen in the “mother child” relationship • That is an emotional bond.

Religious ecofeminism (Starhawk) • In prehistoric times. human bands were matriarchal • Earth Goddess(es) were heads of pantheist religions • Protection of Earth was the primary command • Return to Goddess worship (or Gaia) is a way out of our dilemma .

as opposed to intuition. emotion & chaos • We must give up the notion of progress and revelation of nature’s secrets to restore proper human-nature relations .Post-modern ecofeminism (Carolyn Merchant) • The scientific revolution saw nature as a bundle of secrets to be revealed by research & reason • This could be done only by reducing nature to its constituent parts • Reason thus became highly valued.

and people will change for the better . such critique will reveal the truth.Post-structural ecofeminism (Noël Sturgeon) • Domination is naturalized through ideology & practice • It is through naturalization that power is both rationalized and exercised • Relentless critique of beliefs & practices will reveal how this is happening • Ultimately.

girls do not • Conviction of separateness is a “male illusion” • Knowledge is contextual and embodied/bodily • Women measure themselves through relationships & an ethic of care • This should be the basis of an ecological ethic . fact • Boys reject their relationship with their mother.Peterson • Motherhood is a social. not just biological.

Mellor • Mellor focuses on the gendering of economic systems & effects on the natural world • Most economies are dualist & gendered.) • This is concerned with the human body & basic needs • Link of humanity with natural being is thereby diminished • Both nature and women are diminished and degraded • “Provisioning” offers an alternative . & devalue “women’s work” ($15-45 trillion/yr.

Dobson • Dobson is contrasting “ecologism” with ecofeminism • Identifies different forms of ecofeminism: – “Difference feminism” – “Deconstructive feminism” – “Materialist feminism” • And distinguishes ecologism from these because – They are “andocentric” and – Don’t address “limits to growth” • Ecologism does not seem too concerned about domination .

Wiccan religions Non-gendered environment in home & elsewhere Affirmative action.Philosophical standpoint Essentialist Representative author Nel Noddings Central argument or concern Mother-child relationship = "natural caring" Indigenous women are closer to nature Goddess worship was/is ecofriendly Patriarchy is psychosocially reproduced in individuals Unequal representation of women Unequal distribution of resources to women & children Sex/gendered division of labor subordinates women and nature Science sees nature as female & women as natural Ecofeminisms must be deconstructed so as to not be essentialist Primary goal Replacement of male-dominated ethical systems Establishing a closer bond with nature Recreate pagan pantheist feminism Eliminate binary socialization of boys & girls Equal political and economic power for women and men Just distribution of resources and power Eliminate domination of women & nature by men Eliminate dominance of rationalism in analysis & action Denaturalize all categories so that power is exposed Means of achieving goal A society with "mothers of both sexes" Learning beliefs & practices of indigenous women Practice Celtic. women’s decolonization Restore holism & organicism to life & action Relentless critique of ideological positions Critique Only addresses close relationships Tends towards essentialism Anti-rationalist magical thinking Fails to address society’s role in reproduction Individualistic. only critique Romantic Joanna Macy Cultural-religious Psycho-social Starhawk Carol Adams Liberal Karen Warren Distributionist Vandana Shiva Materialist Mary Mellor Post-modern Carolyn Merchant Post-structural Noël Sturgeon . economic success Greater access for women to economic resources United struggle to end male domination. does not address structural issues Distributive justice offers weak structural critique Why should movement coalitions be Green? Here there be dragons! No political program. political access.