By Val Plumwood

1 Feminism and ecofeminism
2 Dualism: the common sense of colonisation
3 Plato and the philosophy of death
4 Descartes and the dream of power
5 Mechanism and mind/nature dualism
6 Ethics and the instrumentalising self
7 Deep ecology and the denial of difference
Conclusion: altering the grasp tale

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Extra info for Feminism and the Mastery of Nature

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It is only Feminism and ecofeminism 39 when women are conceived as free agents and choosers with respect to their bodies and as full agents in their reproductive activity that this split is avoided. It is only in such freedom that women’s reproductive life is not distorted. Accordingly, a critical ecological feminism can reject both the distorted choices generated by nature/culture dualism; it can reject the model of women and women’s reproductivity as undifferentiated nature, but it is also critical of the attempt to fit them into a model of oppositional and masculinised culture.

Conversely, they assert the identity of men with culture as exclusive of and distinct from nature. ) But once we have begun to question human/nature dualism these assumptions are no longer acceptable. As I argue in chapter 2, human identity has, as part of its dualistic construction, been conceived of in terms which are exclusive of and in opposition to nature. A major point of the critical ecological feminist position I shall develop is to argue that we should reject the master model 15 and conceive human identity in less dualistic and oppositional ways; such a critical ecofeminism would conclude that both women and men are part of both nature and culture.

The concept of the human is itself very heavily normative. The notion of being fully or properly human is made to carry enormous positive weight, usually with little examination of the assumptions behind this, or the inferiorisation of the class of non-humans this involves. Thus, for example, behind the view that there is something insulting or degrading about linking women and nature stands an unstated set of assumptions about the inferior status of the non-human world. In modern discourses of liberation, things are deplored or praised in terms of conformity to a concept of ‘full humanity’.

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