Mobilizing ‘Intersectionality’ in Environmental Justice Research and Action in a Time of Crisis

Citation:

Di Chiro, Giovanna. 2020. “Mobilizing ‘Intersectionality’ in Environmental Justice Research and Action in a Time of Crisis.” In Environmental Justice: Key Issues, edited by Brendan Coolsaet. Abingdon: Routledge.

Author: Giovanna Di Chiro

Abstract:

This chapter reviews the concept of “intersectionality,” describing its roots in Black feminist thought and social justice activism, and its focus on the synergistic relationship between critical inquiry and critical praxis. It examines how scholars and activists use intersectionality to reveal multiple and interlocking identities and injustices that, when made visible, enable coalition building to eliminate all systems of oppression across a wide spectrum of social movements. I analyze how environmental justice activists mobilize intersectionality for environmental change by building coalitions across racial, gender/sexual, class, ethnic, and national differences, contrasting this approach with mainstream environmental and climate movements’ use of the universalizing discourse of the “global commons.” Further, drawing on the social and political construct of the “undercommons,” a critical, abolitionist praxis focused on dismantling colonial institutions and co-creating new forms of research and action, I conclude with examples from my engagement with intersectional environmental justice theory and coalition building with my students and community partners in Philadelphia.

Topics: Class, Environment, Climate Change, Ethnicity, Feminisms, Gender, Intersectionality, Race

Year: 2020

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