This article reflects on the development of feminist political ecology, a field of research and praxis that offers different theoretical approaches to the social power relations associated with nature, culture and the economy, with a commitment to epistemologies, methods and values. feminists. From a small illustrative selection of research articles, I present a consciously biased and situated commentary on the Anglophone contributions that have resonated in my own research practice, teaching, and everyday life. I consider four related areas of development of feminist political ecology: first, gender dynamics in access and dispossession of resources; second, the debates around post-humanism, bodies and matter; third, academic and activist considerations about sufficiency, commons, and a feminist ethic of care; and finally, recent efforts to develop a decolonial feminist political ecology. My objective is to show the types of questions and concerns that each of these threads raises, considered as platforms to continue the critical debate.
Her talk introduced the work WEGO is doing to consolidate Feminist Political Ecology as a body of work and ethical approach to research and practice to an audience of largely North and Latin American-based political ecologists, many of whom are early career scholar-activists.
DOPE was started by and continues to be run by the Political Ecology Working Group, an interdisciplinary collective of University of Kentucky graduate students. The conference in February 2020 included a superb range of panels and papers from across a range of political ecology areas, but with a strong emphasis on intersectional scholar activism, including close engagement with environmental activisms in Kentucky and Appalachia. Insights were shared through a plenary panel where Justin Dunnavant presented his action research with young people recovering histories of enslavement in the land and seascapes of the former Danish West Indies, Macarena Gómez-Barris presented on extractivism in Chile and Diana Ojeda described her recent projects bridging political ecology and feminist geopolitics with research focused on the Colombian Caribbean. Dr Alaka Wali, Curator of North American Anthropology in the Science and Education Division of The Field Museum gave a keynote addressdescribing her pioneering work developing of participatory social science action research and community engagement processes based in museum science to further access of museum resources for excluded communities. Her talk was part of the University of Kentucky’s year of equity programme to mark the 70th Anniversary of the successful lawsuit to desegregate the University of Kentucky.
Feminist Political Ecology (FPE) is an approach that looks at how to promote community well-being, peace and social justice. It analyses power relations within different systems of oppression and at different scales in communities, building solidarity in the global North and South. FPE examines the processes, strategies and political mechanisms that community initiatives use to challenge the existing power relations based on exploitation, domination, and conflict. With audience participation from both the Global North and South, the workshop will share the innovative insights of the Wellbeing Ecology Gender Communities (WEGO) ITN network on how to do grounded research in solidarity with social movements and community initiatives around issues of social and environmental justice, natural resource management and care.
For a week in August part of the WEGO team gathered with other academics and activists of diverse places, ages and experiences in the beautiful convent of Bolsena in Italy for a feminist methodologies writing retreat.
Well, it turns out that it has been a year since we started this wonderful, but at the same time challenging journey of the Ph.D. I find it wonderful because it has allowed me as a person to enter into debates that seemed completely different to my reality and to which I did not pay much attention for my negligence to have a dialogue with European theories. My mentor, Gülay, has been key in this trip. Taking part in her seminars on post-development theory allowed me to realize the infinite similarities between the critical political and social theory of Europe and that of Latin America. Undoubtedly, with different realities and different situational problems, in both geopolitical latitudes, people get organized and fight for a common good and a good life/buen vivir. I find this trip challenging because it is not easy to understand the European reality with other lenses and other theories that have been unfamiliar to my academic path. However, I loved it. Sometimes I feel a bit like “the bridge” referred in the writings of the chicana Gloria Anzaldúa, or the chixi /mestiza proposed by the anti-colonial feminist Silvia Rivera-Cusicanqui to foster a dialogue of imaginaries, to walk interweaving different knowledges. After a year, I finally feel that I am finding my way in my research, and today more than ever I feel the passion for writing and discussing in-depth concepts relevant to my topic, such as urban food commons, food sovereignty, food regime, etc… and hopefully, by the end, I will be filling a gap in the FPE theory.
I feel more and more comfortable presenting my Ph.D. project in public. I remember that at the beginning of the doctorate I could not even accommodate my ideas in my mind and it was hard for me to verbalize what I thought. However, after a year of being on this trip, the public presentations have become a moment of reflection on what I want to communicate and what I am investigating. They help me to identify deficiencies in my research or possible contradictions. Jena and the rest of the presentations that I have had have worked to me as deadlines of my research, and somehow impel me to continue with the debate of it. Doing a doctorate is not simple, especially when you do not belong to a kind of structured doctorate. We ourselves manage our time, and we get deadlines regarding the goals we want to achieve. Jena helped me to reflect on the progress of my research on the methodological and theoretical framework that I am using and, above all, on the functionality of my research. What do I really want to achieve with it? How can I contribute to the theoretical debate of the FPE? And better yet, how can I make my research useful in practice and not just more words without content?
Undisciplined Environments (UE) aims to become an influential crossroads for activists, researchers, journalists and anyone interested in the mutual imbrications of power, society, culture and ecology. Our commitment is to establish UE as a compelling virtual space to share ideas, stories, concepts, methods and strategies for the elaboration of the knowledges and practices needed to build more emancipatory socionatural worlds.
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Care and the Commons in Troubling times: confronting whiteness
Led by Constance Dupuis and Wendy Harcourt
Our paper looks at the everyday practice of feminist political ecology as not only practices rooted in one geographical place and culture but also as collective processes that are forming a global community network. We explore how feminist political ecology (FPE) aims to navigate racist structures, gender and class inequalities that determine struggles over rights and resources. Inspired by Donna Haraway’s staying with the trouble, our paper looks at how we confront whiteness in feminist political ecology. We address the ways in which white privilege and colonialism continue to be reproduced and how FPE can engage in critical conversations without centring the white experience.
Analyzing the Politics of the Everyday: A Feminist Political Ecology Perspective
There is ample evidence that neoliberal restructuring has led to precarious living conditions as well as to environmental degradation, both of which negatively affect community well-being worldwide. In response, many alternative initiatives have mushroomed at community level that aim to counter neoliberal policies through changing everyday practices of care and natural resource management. Feminist Political Ecology (FPE) is an approach that analyses these practices by taking into account power relations within different systems of oppression at different scales. With an emphasis on the importance of embodiment, place and scale, FPE aims to unveil the processes through which different actors interact, and the strategies and political mechanisms that community initiatives use to challenge the existing power relations based on exploitation, domination, and conflict. This panel seeks to introduce the theoretical tenets of FPE and to show how FPE contributes to feminist political science. Papers will be analyzing different social movements and initiatives around issues of social and environmental justice, natural resource management and care.
As well as pursuing transformations towards sustainability and environmental justice, FPE researchers are also pursing transformations of the ethics, methods, epistemologies and practices of research.
In this workshop participants were invited to join members and associates of the WEGO network to explore the key insights and perspectives that have come from the practices of doing FPE research. FPE researchers were invited to prepare short responses to questions which formed the basis of a facilitated discussion exploring key themes such as scholar-activism, ethics, scales and methods in relation to their work with struggles for environmental justice.
The discussion then broke off into a ‘world cafe’ where all participants joined conversations exploring key themes and shared their own research experiences. The workshop was recorded with the intention that it can become a learning resource.
We have been working hard to update our Global Environmental Justice group website with some conference outputs, so please take a look.
You can view and download the graphic records at this UEA Global
Environmental Justice flickr page.
You can view the conference videos at the Environmental Justice
Conference 2019 playlist on YouTube. We are still in the process of
editing some of the sessions, they will be added to this list as they
Some people had asked if the conference presentations would be available on the website. We have considered this and decided it won’t be possible. We would encourage delegates to contact specific presenters directly and request that presentations be shared that way. You can find contact email addresses for all presenters in the Abstract Book.
Background paper and follow up papers
The conference background paper remains on the conference website and please let us know if you have any particular feedback that you didn’t have a chance to share.
At the moment we have not planned any special issue publications but do feel free to pursue any ideas yourselves and let us know if we can