A Materialist Ecofeminist Reading of the Green Economy: Or, Yes Karl, the Ecological Footprint is Sex-Gendered


Salleh, Ariel. 2020. "A Materialist Ecofeminist Reading of the Green Economy: Or, Yes Karl, the Ecological Footprint is Sex-Gendered." In The Routledge Handbook of Transformative Global Studies, edited by Hamed Hosseini, James Goodman, Sara Motta, and Barry Gills. New York: Routledge.

Author: Ariel Salleh


Sociologists use the materialist concept of ‘class’ to explain people’s relation to the means of production, their earnings, living conditions, social standing, capacities, and political identification. However, with the spread of economic globalization as an ‘imperial mode of living’ (Brand & Wissen, 2018), analyses that focus on the transnational ruling class and its industrial workers (Robinson & Harris, 2000) come to appear Eurocentric and masculinist. This chapter draws attention to a class that has not been recognized as such to this point; yet it is a class whose work plays a critical role in regenerating the metabolism of human societies with nature. Counterintuitive as it may seem, class is constituted internationally, by indigenous gatherers, peasant farmers, and family care givers. The labours of these ‘meta-industrial workers’ reveal a life-affirming rationality, grounded in a common epistemology (Salleh, 2009, 2012). The present materialist-ecological-feminist reading of the Green Economy stands on this premise. Meta-industrial agency in large part sustains, and indeed subsidises, the thermodynamic basis of capitalist patriarchal economies; but that fact is invisible to a colonizing global industrial culture. Ecofeminist historians like Merchant (1980) trace the modern economic system back to the 17th century ‘green revolution’ in agriculture; a form of development that has devastated Indian peasant lives by the imposition of petro-farming and genetically engineered commercial seed stock.

Topics: Class, Agriculture, Environment, Feminisms, Ecofeminism, Gendered Power Relations, Patriarchy, Masculinism, Livelihoods

Year: 2020

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