R

A key part of the project of feminist ecological citizenship is to call r for the democratization of the household so that household and caring ■¡H tasks are divided fairly between men and women. [...] The other side of -g the coin is that caring work needs to be supported institutionally - by the S state and by the market and in the workplace. [...] But I also think that £ another key part of the project should be principled feminist resistance "5 to gender codes through the language and practice of citizenship. The 'm project may thus involve the renewal of feminist consciousness-raising 15 that inspires women to [...] claim the political identity of 'citizen'. As m citizens, women activists in volunteer organizations might refuse being exploited and demand recognition through state support either direct funding or tax breaks. As citizens, when the tasks are being divided among members of a social movement organization women might challenge gendered assumptions about appropriate tasks for men and women. As citizens, women might resist social expectations that they should 'naturally' be able to take on ever-expanding loads of care [...]

And what about the men who write about ecological citizenship? Mouffe's (1992b) idea that citizenship can be an articulating principle for many social movements never deals with what feminists know through decades of social movement experience: even when the ideals of liberty, equality, and solidarity (formerly known as fraternity) are held in common, the masculinism of men persists. Lynne Segal's (1987) analysis, on the other hand, leads her to conclude that a coalition of feminists and left men, while necessary, will not work as long as the latter remain stuck in their patriarchal ways. She then argues that feminists should engage politically 'with' and 'against' men in left-wing social movements, that they should be neither their 'foes nor loving friends'. The same might be said about the pervasive (subtle and often denied) masculinism of many of the men who are the intellectual leaders of the green movement. Some have taken ecofeminists and feminist ideas on board (e.g., Barry 1999; Dobson 2003), and it would be counter-productive not to give credit where it is due. But fruitful conversations between the green men and ecofeminists' theorists [...] have thus far been lacking. [...] The way to challenge the fact that care is 'irrelevant to the moral life of the powerful' (Tronto 1993, 89) is not to claim it is as women's special gift but, rather, to assert it as a political ideal that no democratic and sustainable society can do without. If we accept Mouffe's (1992a, 225) suggestion that 'the way we define citizenship is intimately linked to the kind of society and political community we want', then gender-blind green men must be called to account for why an analysis of masculinist privilege has thus far been absent in their definitions.

References

Barry, J. (1999) Rethinking Green Politics, London: Sage.

Dobson, A. (2003) Citizenship and the Environment, Oxford: Oxford University Press.

Homer-Dixon, T. F. (1999) Environment, Scarcity and Violence, Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press .

Kaplan, R. (1994) 'The coming anarchy', Atlantic Monthly, 274(2): 44-76.

Lister, R. (1997) Citizenship: Feminist Perspectives, New York: New York University Press.

Mies, M. and Shiva, V. (1993) Eco-feminism, London: Zed Books.

Mouffe, C. (1992a) 'Democratic citizenship and the political community', in Dimensions of Radical Democracy: Pluralism, Citizenship, Community, ed. C. Mouffe, 225-39. London: Verso

Mouffe, C. (1992b) 'Feminism, citizenship and radical democratic politics', in Feminists Theorize the Political, ed. J. Butler and J. W. Scott, 369-84. New York: Routledge.

Plumwood, V. (1995) 'Has democracy failed ecology? An ecofeminist perspective', Environmental Politics 4(4): 136-69.

Sandilands, Catriona (1999). The Good-Natured Feminist: Eco-feminism and the Quest for Democracy, Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press.

Savarsy, W. (1992) 'Beyond the difference versus equality debate: Postsuffrage feminism, citizenship and the quest for a feminist welfare state', Signs 17(2): 329-63.

Segal, L. (1987) Is the Future Female? Troubled Thoughts on Contemporary Feminism, London: Virago Press.

Tronto, J. (1993) Moral Boundaries: A Political Argument for an Ethic of Care, New York: Routledge.

28 | Shopping for sustainability: can sustainable consumption promote ecological citizenship?

GILL SEYFANG

Gill Seyfang has conducted extensive work on sustainable consumption (the focus of this reading) covering issues as diverse as community currencies, Local Exchange Trading Schemes (LETS), personal carbon trading, fair trade, alternative indicators and evaluation methodologies. In this reading, Seyfang assesses whether 'shopping for sustainability' can provide practical insights for constructing ecological citizenship by emphasizing the 'responsibilities that citizens of the environment must bear'. By focusing on grassroots or citizen-led initiatives as well as on ethical trade and labour standards, Seyfang examines the dilemmas facing sustainable lifestyle projects and their resilience in the face of mainstream economic priorities, which remain oriented towards the goal of economic growth. This reading argues that ecological citizenship involves reducing unsustainable impacts by promoting reflection on environmental responsibility on the part of consumers and political decision-makers.

Was this article helpful?

0 0

Post a comment