Ecomodern Masculinity, Energy Security, and Green Consumerism: the Rise of Biofuels in the United States


Dockstader, Sue, and Shannon Elizabeth Bell. 2020. "Ecomodern Masculinity, Energy Security, and Green Consumerism: the Rise of Biofuels in the United States." Critical Sociology 46 (4-5): 643-60.

Authors: Sue Dockstader, Shannon Elizabeth Bell


Through a case study of a major biofuel company in the United States, we seek to uncover how producers and consumers promote biofuels as a solution to climate change, despite considerable evidence demonstrating that biofuels are socially and environmentally destructive. Analysis of the company’s marketing materials and interviews with the owner and customers reveals that a primary way the company puts a green spin on biofuels is the deployment of “ecomodern masculinity.” This hybrid masculinity invokes a particular class-based environmentalism that positions biofuels as the ethical choice of good men concerned about the environment. This gendered ideology embraces a variant of Ecological Modernization that strategically adopts the appearance of environmental care while promoting the American values of energy security and green consumerism. We argue that this gendered repackaging of biofuels bolsters existing social inequalities, safeguards capital accumulation, and inhibits the systemic changes needed to address the climate crisis.

Keywords: climate change, biofuels, masculinities, green consumerism, energy security, capitalism, Marxism, sociology

Topics: Class, Environment, Climate Change, Gender, Masculinity/ies Regions: Americas, North America Countries: United States of America

Year: 2019

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