Ecofeminism as third wave feminism? Essentialism, activism and the academy

Niamh Moore*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter

Abstract / Description of output

This chapter provides a critical reflection on third wave feminism from an eco/feminist perspective. Beginning with a brief sketch of eco/feminism, it focuses on tensions between eco/feminism and (other) feminisms. Questioning whether ecofeminism reproduces essentialist accounts of ‘women’ and ‘nature’ which reify both, it provides a more challenging reconfiguration of these categories. Ecofeminist attention to the gendered politics of ‘nature’ can destabilise distinctions between different waves of feminism, because ‘nature’ is a current which runs through all waves. Embedded in conflicts over ‘nature’ and essentialism are crucial subtexts about the importance and status of theory and activism. Attention to these subtexts is vital, not least because there is little explicit consideration of these in ecofeminist literature (with the notable exception of Noël Sturgeon). These debates about theory/activism map onto debates about the distinctions between the second and third waves of feminism. The shift from second to third wave has been marked by the institutionalisation of women’s studies and feminism in the academy, and a concomitant anxiety about the effects and meanings of this development. This has raised questions over whether feminism has ‘retreated’ from the streets to the academy, and remains an academic phenomenon only, or whether feminist activism continues in any form.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationThird Wave Feminism
Subtitle of host publicationA Critical Exploration
EditorsStacy Gillis, Gillian Howie, Rebecca Munford
PublisherPalgrave Macmillan
Number of pages13
ISBN (Electronic)9780230523173
ISBN (Print)9781403918215, 9781349514069
Publication statusPublished - 31 Jul 2004

Keywords / Materials (for Non-textual outputs)

  • feminist theory
  • feminist politics
  • feminist activism
  • feminism principle
  • gender politics


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