Feminist Political Ecology

Authored by: Rebecca Elmhirst

The Routledge Handbook of Gender and Development

Print publication date:  February  2015
Online publication date:  February  2015

Print ISBN: 9780415829083
eBook ISBN: 9780203383117
Adobe ISBN: 9781134094714


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Feminist political ecology has established itself as an influential subfield within gender and development studies and, from this, shares a broad commitment to understanding and addressing the dynamics of gender in relation to the natural environment and in the context of natural resource-based livelihoods. Feminist political ecology (FPE) offers an explicit emphasis on power and politics at different scales, directing attention towards the gender dimensions of key questions around the politics of environmental degradation and conservation, the neoliberalization of nature and ongoing rounds of accumulation, enclosure and dispossession associated with each of these. Its genealogy owes much to the wider field of political ecology, which seeks to understand ‘the complex relations between nature and society through a careful analysis of . . . access and control over resources and their implications for environmental health and sustainable livelihoods’ and explaining ‘environmental conflict especially in terms of struggles over ‘knowledge, power and practice’ and ‘politics, justice and governance’ (Watts 2000: 257). For feminists working in political ecology, a key question has always been to ask in what sense is there a gender dimension to such struggles, and how might these intersect with feminist objectives, strategies and practices?

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