Post-environmentalism, the deep ecology/ecofeminist debate, and Surfacing : rereading environmental theory

Master Thesis


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University of Cape Town

I have taken my notion of 'Post-Environmentalism' from John Young's book of the same name which seemed to me to provide an eclectic and essentially deconstructive approach to the debate surrounding 'the environmentalist crisis'. As the term suggests, the debate is one subject to essentialist thinking which constitutes it as simple and singular. In particular I am interested in the ways in which that logic is one of specularity, forwarded by a scientific privileging of ocular epistemology. I therefore use the strategy of 'Post-Environmentalism' in so far as it provides a way of making use of the historical and political importance of all the discourses involved, in particular Deep-Ecology and Ecofeminism, without privileging one over another. However, I also point out ways in which this mapping project is subject to the same specular logic. In so far as Surfacing is a postmodernist text which constantly relativizes the discourses of, in particular but not exclusively, ecofeminism and science, it functions like 'Post-Environmentalism' to deconstruct the specific problems of each. In particular I look at the way in which the narrator uses metaphor to deconstruct rational masculinist thought and create the possibility of an empowering subject position for women, nature and fiction as a marginalized genre.

Includes bibliography.