Ecological Relations: Towards An Inclusive Politics of the Earth

By Susan Board | Go to book overview

4

Ecological relations

The case of women

This is the first of a series of three chapters illustrating the Foucauldian methodology outlined in the preceding chapter. Women provide the first illustrative subjects comprising a category that has been socially and politically relegated and oppressed according to the prevailing philosophical narratives that are rooted in a naturalised epistemology, as Chapter 1 delineated. This 'case-study', like the following two focusing upon nonhuman animals and indigenous peoples, attempts to penetrate the unashamed history of how 'dominant identities congratulate themselves through the production and naturalization' of those who are strange, 1 whether by gender, ethnicity, or physiology, in search of an inclusive politicisation of ecological relations. This text aims to implicitly reveal the minimalist politicisation of IR by presenting an alternative theorisation that allows for interdependence of all diverse relations upon earth, without dismissing the importance of skewed power relationships.

The Foucauldian analytical metatheory allows for a cognitive and conceptual hold on to the subject: 'Women'. This categorisation, whether in its essentialised interpretation that necessarily entails a reversal of patriarchal hierarchisation yet maintains this paradigmatic frame nonetheless, or in its interpretation as the diverse multiplicity of these constitutive subjects, insists upon their input as nonsilenced and noninnocent relations worthy of study and scrutiny in an ecologically revised IR. A feminist perspective deconstructs patriarchal philosophy and institutions that deny political space to women, which in doing so simultaneously reify the 'naturalisation' and conceptual objectification of women. When women reassert their status as political subjects on terms that are not male biased, that is, 'to return as a woman and be heard', 2 they usurp power, but also disturbingly, for patriarchy, cause its fragmentation. In effect, the manipulation of power is revealed. Thus this chapter will overthrow the great philosophical and political lie that translates man as generic for human 3 and question the liberal opening of the political space for mankind to women as well. Consequently, it will engage with the poststructuralist debate of the constitution of the 'plenary subject'. 4

It has been suggested that in focusing upon women, described as a male categorical, even if 'special', positioning the 'broader, relational concept of

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