Feminist Political Ecology

Citation:

Elmhirst, Rebecca. 2015. “Feminist Political Ecology.” In The Routledge Handbook of Political Ecology, edited by Tom Perreault, Gavin Bridge, and James McCarthy, 519–30. Abingdon: Routledge.

Author: Rebecca Elmhirst

Abstract:

Feminist political ecology emerged as a subfield of Political Ecology in the 1990s, developing initially from gender and development studies, with which it shares a broad commitment to understanding the dynamics of gender in relation to the natural environment and in the context of natural resource-based livelihoods. As with Political Ecology more generally, Feminist Political Ecology (FPE hereafter) emphasizes politics and power at different scales, but goes further in highlighting gendered power relations, and in making an explicit commitment towards tackling gender disadvantage and inequality. FPE directs attention towards gendered processes within the politics of environmental degradation and conservation, the neoliberalization of nature and ongoing rounds of accumulation, enclosure and dispossession associated with each of these. Work within this field seeks to complicate arenas of assumed common interest, such as “community” and “household”, and to explore the connections between nature, gendered subject formation and the body. Of central interest are the gender dimensions of struggles over nature and the environment, and how might these intersect and be informed by feminist objectives, strategies and practices. Whilst FPE embraces a diversity of approaches and subject matters, there is a shared (if often implicit) commitment to feminist epistemology, methods and values, where dominant, masculinist conceptions and practices of knowledge and authority are recognized and challenged, and where emphasis is given to research and practice that empowers and promotes social and ecological transformation for women and other marginalized groups. (Routledge) 

Topics: Environment, Feminisms, Feminist Political Ecology, Gendered Power Relations, Households

Year: 2015

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