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Environmental Ethics

Volume 23, Issue 2, Summer 2001

Catriona Sandilands
Pages 169-188

Desiring Nature, Queering Ethics

I begin from the premise that “environmentalism needs queers.” Given that desire is a significant element in environmental ethics, and that the social organization of sexual-erotic desire has important impacts on human-nonhuman interactions, queer theory promises to aid environmental thought in unraveling and challenging some of these relations. I contribute the following elements to that challenge: the social-sexual organization of natural space; the organizing effects of dominant discourses of reproductive sexuality for both political possibility and bodily experience; and the retrieval (using the works of queer theorist Elizabeth Grosz) of a queer/ecological “erotogenic ethics” based on the blurring of bodily boundaries through eroticized tactile apprehension of the (human and nonhuman) Other.

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