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Ecofeminist Natures: Race, Gender, Feminist Theory and Political Action Paperback – August 15, 1997

ISBN-13: 978-0415912501 ISBN-10: 0415912504

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 272 pages
  • Publisher: Routledge (August 15, 1997)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0415912504
  • ISBN-13: 978-0415912501
  • Product Dimensions: 6 x 0.6 x 9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (2 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #212,018 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

Review

Noel Sturgeon's book comprehensively explores the wide diversity within ecofeminist theory and activism while challenging the common assumptions that (1) feminist theory is, or should be, anti-essentialist, without any reliance on essentialist constructs, and that (2) all essentialist constructs are politically problematic, having no political usefulness. With the number of feminist and ecofeminist perspectives ever increasing and thus presenting a real danger of disunity across differences within the feminist movement the need for strategic alliances between feminists is all the more urgent. In this sense Sturgeon's argument is itself strategically well timed. Her book illuminates the ecofeminist literature that preceses it and affords clear direction for future work. -- Philosophy in Review
As both scholar and activist, Sturgeon approaches ecofeminism with a critical yet sympathetic voice, offering fresh insights that will be immediately useful. Racism is a woman's issue, as Sturgeon makes clear, and addressing this issue is central to the history and future of ecofeminism and all movements for social and environmental justice. We have waited a long time for a book like this one. -- Greta Gaard, University of Minnesota
... makes an invaluable contribution to the academic dialogue on ecofeminism by providing a historical/political context for ecofeminist thought as it has developed internationally and in the US... As a cultural critic with experience as an activist in the women's peace movement, Sturgeon seems perfectly positioned to tell... her narrative. Karla Armbruster, NWSA Journal, Vol. 12, No. 1, Spring 2000, pp. 210-216 As both scholar and activist, Sturgeon approaches ecofeminism with a critical yet sympathetic voice, offering fresh insights that will be immediately useful. Racism is a woman's issue, as Sturgeon makes clear, and addressing this issue is central to the history and future of ecofeminism and all movements for social and environmental justice. We have waited a long time for a book like this one. -- Greta Gaard, University of Minnesota

About the Author

Noel Sturgeon is Associate Professor of Women's Studies and Graduate Faculty in American Studies at Washington State University.

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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful By Susanne Willemsen (s.c.willemsen@let.rug.nl) on October 23, 1998
Format: Paperback
Essential problems with Ecofeminism
Noël Sturgeon. Ecofeminist Natures; Race, Gender, Feminist Theory and Political Action. New York: Routledge, 1997. 260 pages.
In her book, Ecofeminist Natures, Noël Sturgeon deals with the highly problematical branch of feminism: ecofeminism. She defines ecofeminism as "... a feminist rebellion within male-dominated radical environmentalism" (25) and in the introduction she says: "The ecofeminist movement I examine, and in some ways construct throughout this book, is a fractured, contested, discontinuous entity..." (3). This latter description illustrates the problematicality of the movement and in the book, Sturgeon addresses the various problems with respect to five different aspects of ecofeminism: history, ethnography, sociology, politics and theory. The major part of the introduction is devoted to explaining essentialist theory which will come back time and again throughout the book as ecofeminism's ally, but also its biggest enemy. The most prominent and seemingly inescapable problem that plagues ecofeminism, which effects all the aspects that Sturgeon is examining, is the opposition between constructionism and essentialism. The dualism of ideas is illustrated by Sturgeon giving both the constructionist and essentialist answer to the question why women are connected to the environment. Sturgeon explains how this dualism came into the movement: "... the theoretical inconsistencies found in these various ecofeminist positions is a result of the strategic and dynamic qualities of the formation of ecofeminism as a political location within specific historical and political contexts." (58).
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8 of 10 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on March 11, 1999
Format: Paperback
Noel Sturgeon's Ecofeminist Natures is a very welcome addition to the growing body of work on ecofeminism. As both a cultural critic and an activist in the women's peace movement, Sturgeon is ideally positioned to provide a thorough, informative history of ecofeminist theory and practice while also critically examining both the problems and potential of different strands within the many-faced, oppositional movement known as ecofeminism.
In particular, she is concerned with the current "political stalemate between the tropes of essentialism and anti-essentialism within feminism" (11), a stalemate she sees as unnecessarily and unfortunately dividing ecofeminist theory from practice and ecofeminism from feminism. While Sturgeon makes the necessary point that critics have exaggerated ecofeminist tendencies toward essentialism, she makes an even more valuable contribution by insisting that the essentialist tendencies which exist "must be explained as well as resisted" (59). She takes up this task by examining ecofeminist theory and activism within its historical and political contexts, both in the US and internationally.
Sturgeon emphasizes that when ecofeminism is viewed as a political intervention into male-dominated discourses such as deep ecology or United Nations discussions of environment and development, certain seemingly essentialist symbols and language can be seen as products of an urgent need for political alliances among women of profoundly different racial, class, and national backgrounds; these "essentialist moments" help create a shifting, strategic relationship between "women" and "nature" for political purposes (11).
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