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Environmentalism in Popular Culture: Gender, Race, Sexuality, and the Politics of the Natural Paperback – December 12, 2008

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Environmentalism in Popular Culture: Gender, Race, Sexuality, and the Politics of the Natural + Ecofeminist Philosophy: A Western Perspective on What It Is and Why It Matters  (Studies in Social, Political, and Legal Philosophy)
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 240 pages
  • Publisher: University of Arizona Press (December 12, 2008)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0816525811
  • ISBN-13: 978-0816525812
  • Product Dimensions: 6 x 0.5 x 9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 11.2 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (2 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,013,243 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews


“Sturgeon’s book creates the field of ‘environmental cultural studies’ through her intersectional analysis, which merges the perspectives of environmental justice, ecofeminism, and environmentalism.” —Greta Gaard, author of The Nature of Home: Taking Root in a Place

“If environmentalists—and by this I mean all of us who live on the planet and rely upon nature for our very survival—can take these criticisms to heart and try to imagine a more sustainable social and ecological future, then this book’s seemingly grim assessments will have paid off.” —Scott Slovic, author of Going Away to Think: Engagement, Retreat, and Ecocritical Responsibility

About the Author

Noël Sturgeon is a professor of Women's Studies at Washington State University. She is the author of Ecofeminist Natures: Race, Gender, Feminist Theory, and Political Action.

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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By S. D Fassbinder on August 13, 2009
Format: Paperback
When I was a university student in the '80s and '90s, I got to observe firsthand the growth in popularity of a field loosely known as "cultural studies," with its promotion of a "new" field of political inquiry which it called "identity politics." As a prospective graduate student, I was accepted into a department which advertised its practice of what it called "critical/cultural studies." So I was at least familiar with cultural studies as an academic trend. Later in life, I became more focused upon environmental topics.

Noel Sturgeon's "Environmentalism in Popular Culture" has combined the "cultural studies" and environmentalist interests in an interesting, politically-committed book. This book is subtitled "Gender, Race, Sexuality, and the Politics of the Natural," which should tell you a good amount about its proclaimed method: "global feminist environmental justice analysis." Sturgeon's central idea is that

US environmentalists use popular narrative tropes to get their message across in ways that they think will be widely effective. But they do not often critically examine what relationship these stories have to the long-standing use of arguments from the natural that have promoted inequality and supported conquest throughout US political and social history. It is crucial, therefore, to examine the negative implications and effects of environmentalist deployment of certain narratives about nature, given that some of these narratives are simultaneously used to uphold troubling ideas about US power, heterosexist and sexist concepts of families and sexuality, and racist ideas about indigenous and Global South peoples. (7)

Thus what follows in the rest of this book is a sort of mythography of these "popular narrative tropes.
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3 of 4 people found the following review helpful By Ernesto Aguilar on April 22, 2009
Format: Paperback
Environmentalism in Popular Culture is a necessary challenge of ideas many of us may look upon with positive energy, but which require be pushed further. Equally, Sturgeon scripts a thought-provoking thesis on how ideas of personal responsibility and individualism have eclipsed ideas of corporate responsibility and social accountability, mainly through persistent messaging presupposing the righteousness of the unregulated free market and the inherent danger of anything approaching the commons as a Communist fantasy.

This volume offers up an appraisal of green business that should be fundamental to anyone's understanding of such evolutions in capital. Benevolence comes with it many hooks, and Environmentalism in Popular Culture unabashedly calls out the cynicism in which some of the noted benevolence is rooted. Sturgeon is furthermore clear in how North American chauvinism colors green business' interactions with the Third World, presupposing at once mysticism and helplessness, while failing to offer a lens to Western dominance for such happenings. The result of these ideologies coming to roost is soft capital, in the form of green business, partners with the hardline factions of globalization to present suffering as the natural order of life. Individuals, as the logic goes, are alone responsible for their own lot, not the governments and corporations which engineered societies to their own benefit. Enter theories that are but a hair more sophisticated than eugenics and one is left with the lucky, the cunning and the strong flourishing in a world where regulation is scorned as a roadblock to money rather than a guard for the public interest. What's more, a focus on individuals simply recycling, buying green and purchasing hybrid cars eludes what Sturgeon calls "social justice in a global context."
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