Beyond Mothering Earth: Ecological Citizenship and the Politics of Care
Women's environmental activism is often described in maternalistic terhms, as if motherhood and caring for the environment go hand in hand. While feminists celebrate this connection, all those who care for people and environments are facing increasing burdens and decreasing time for civic engagement as governments download life-sustaining work to the voluntary sector. In Beyond Mothering Earth, Sherilyn MacGregor argues that celebrations of "earth care" as women's unique contribution to the search for sustainability often neglect to consider the importance of politics and citizenship in women's lives. Drawing on interviews with women who juggle private caring with civic engagement in qulity-of-life concerns, she proposes an alternative: a project of feminist ecological citizenship that affirms the practice of citizenship as an intrinsically valuable activity while recognizing the foundational aspects of caring labor and natural processes that allow its specificty to flourish. Her interdisciplinary analysis not only breaks through hierarchical ways of conceptualizing gender, nature, and civic virtue, but also breaks new ground for reconceptualizing the category "citizen." Beyond Mothering Earth provides an original and empirically grounded understanding of women's involvement in quality-of-life activism and an analysis of citizenship that makes an important contribution to contemporary discussions of green politics, globalization, neoliberalism, and democratic justice.
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