Eco/Feminism, Non-Violence and the Future of Feminism

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This article turns to an eco/feminist peace camp of the early 1990s in order to revisit the often passionate and troubled debates in feminism about pacifism, non-violence, maternalism and essentialism. Many readings of feminist peace activism, and eco/feminism, have collapsed a complicated politics into simple manifestations of maternalism, while at the same time reducing maternalism to essentialism. In this process essentialism has been invoked to disavow feminist peace activism and eco/feminist activism. Yet the critique of essentialism has now been the subject of much reflection by feminists. Rather than ascribing the category of ‘essentialism’, genealogical approaches attend to how the categories of ‘essentialism’ and ‘woman’ are invoked and to what ends. Such approaches thereby open up possibilities for understanding ecofeminist activism beyond essentialism. While an eco/feminist peace camp may appear an archetypal site for the re-inscription and repetition of essentialism, I suggest that without returning to such sites it will remain impossible to go beyond essentialism. Through a genealogical examination of contestations over the meanings and practice of eco/feminism at the camp, I understand this late-twentieth century peace camp, not as a quaint throwback to the disavowed activism of the 1970s and 1980s, but as a site through which the future of eco/feminist politics was, and can be, re-imagined.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)282-298
JournalInternational Feminist Journal of Politics
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 1 Sep 2008


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