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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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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.Read more ›
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."