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Environmental Ethics

Volume 15, Issue 3, Fall 1993

Ariel Salleh
Pages 225-244

Class, Race, and Gender Discourse in the Ecofeminism/Deep Ecology Debate

While both ecofeminism and deep ecology share a commitment to overcoming the conventional division between humanity and nature, a major difference between the two is that deep ecology brings little social analysis to its environmental ethic. I argue that there are ideological reasons for this difference. Applying a sociology of knowledge and discourse analysis to deep ecological texts to uncover these reasons, I conclude that deep ecology is constrained by political attitudes meaningful to white-male, middle-class professionals whose thought is not grounded in the labor of daily maintenance and survival. At a micro-political level, this masculinist orientation is revealed by an armory of defensive discursive strategies and techniques used in deep ecological responses to ecofeminist criticism.

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