Ecofeminism k framework



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Essentialism

The K essentializes oppression and its attempt to disrupt hierarchies merely recreates different hierarchies and recreates the violence they talk about on different populations and leads to an oppression olympics – turns the K


Armbruster 99 – Associate Professor of English @ Webster University

(Karla, Chapter 5: A Call for Boundary-Crossing in Ecofeminist Literary Criticism, Ecofeminist Literary Criticism: Theory, Interpretation, Pedagogy, p 98)

The path between continuity and difference that ecofeminist theorists must walk is so narrow and difficult not because of inadequacies in the theorists or the theories, but because of the complexity of their task. Ecofeminism explicitly works to challenge dominant ideologies of dualism and hierarchy within Western culture that construct nature as separate from and inferior to human culture (and women as inferior to men).3 While many ecofeminists identify such ideologies primarily as masculine, such a characterization is overly simplistic; as Val Plumwood explains, "it is not a masculine identity pure and simple, but the multiple, complex cultural identity of the master formed in the context of class, race, species and gender domination, which is at issue" (5). The ideologies of dualism and hierarchy that ground all these dominations are such pervasive forces within our culture that even a movement with the most subversive motives and concepts cannot help but reflect their influence. Within ecofeminism, an unproblematized focus on women's connection with nature can actually reinforce the "master" ideologies of dualism and hierarchy by constructing yet another dualism: an uncomplicated opposition between women's perceived unity with nature and male-associated culture's alienation from it. On the other hand, an unbalanced emphasis on differences in gender, race, species, or other aspects of identity can deny the complexity of human and natural identities and lead to the hierarchical ranking of oppressions on the basis of importance or causality.

Essentialization destroys alts solvency and reifies patriarchy and environmental destruction


Armbruster 99 – Associate Professor of English @ Webster University

(Karla, Chapter 5: A Call for Boundary-Crossing in Ecofeminist Literary Criticism, Ecofeminist Literary Criticism: Theory, Interpretation, Pedagogy, p 101)



Central to the ecofeminist agenda is the goal of individual, social, and ideological change—specifically, change that will improve the cultural standing of women and nature. As I have suggested, one of the primary problems that essentialism can cause for ecofeminists is that, in many ways, it seems antithetical to change. An identity based on essential qualities is unchanging, and the ways essentialist connections between women and nature support dominant ideologies also limit ecofeminists' capacity to catalyze social and cultural change. One way that ecofeminists such as King and Griffin support the possibility of change is through their acknowledgment of the historically and socially constituted nature of the (female) subject. In taking this view of subjectivity, they share one of the widely accepted insights of poststructuralist thought. Growing out of the work of thinkers such as Derrida and Foucault, the poststructuralist view that ideological forces construct our subjectivities through discourse can be interpreted as allowing for the possibility that individuals, and thus culture, can change in a way that essentialist views of identity do not allow.9

Ecofeminism excludes and demonizes men and fails to address alt causes to oppression


Merchant 92 - PhD History of Science @ University of Wisconsin at Madison

(Carolyn, Chapter 8: Ecofeminism, Radical Ecology: The Search for a Livable World, P 193-194)

Cultural ecofeminism, however, has its feminist critics. Susan Prentice argues that ecofeminism, while asserting the fragility and interdependence of all life, “assumes that women and men ... have an essential human nature that transcends culture and socialization.” It implies that what men do to the planet is bad; what women do is good. This special relationship of women to nature and politics makes it difficult to admit that men can also develop an ethic of caring for nature. Second, ecofeminism fails to provide an analysis of capitalism that explains why it dominates nature. "Capitalism is never seriously tackled by ecofeminists as a process with its own particular history, logic, and struggle. Because ecofeminism Iacks this analysis, it cannot develop an effective strategy for change." Moreover, it does not deal with the problems of poverty and racism experienced by millions of women around the world." In contrast to cultural ecofeminism, the social and socialist strands of ecofeminism are based on a socioeconomic analysis that treats nature and human nature as socially constructed, rooted in an analysis of race, class, and gender.

Essentializing oppression and explaining all oppression as coming from subjugation of women and nature cant change society and stops pragmatic change from occurring and creates an oppression olympics that fractures resistance to oppression


(Karla, Chapter 5: A Call for Boundary-Crossing in Ecofeminist Literary Criticism, Ecofeminist Literary Criticism: Theory, Interpretation, Pedagogy, p 104)

Of course, it is necessary for ecofeminists to stress that both the oppression of women and the domination of nature possess deep roots in Western culture, but the categorical assertion that any form of oppression is the ground of all others does little to challenge the ideologies responsible for dominations of all sorts. Although it is necessary to separate forms of oppression to discuss them, such a hierarchical and static approach goes beyond a sensitivity to difference to become a rigid code specifying which forms of difference should take political priority over others. 12 By giving in to the desire to establish such a code, even consciously antidualistic writers such as King and Griffin effectively enthrone gender and association with nature as the aspects of identity most vulnerable to oppression, thus implying that identity can be dissected into self-contained units that can be evaluated for severity of oppression. This need to rank aspects of difference inevitably alienates those who are fore- grounding aspects of identity—such as race or sexual orientation—different from those selected as most oppressed. Thus, difference is again displaced rather than destabilized, serving to separate people from each other and from nature instead Of encouraging them to form alliances for change on the basis of shared aspects of identity and experiences of oppression.


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