Ecofeminism revisited: critical insights on contemporary environmental governance

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Echoing other articles in this special issue, this article re-evaluates a collection of feminist works that fell out of fashion as a consequence of academic feminism embracing poststructuralist and postmodernist trends. In line with fellow contributors, the article critically reflects upon the unsympathetic reading of feminisms considered to be essentialising and universalistic, in order to re-evaluate, in my case, ecofeminism. As an introduction, I reflect on my own perhaps unfair rejection of ecofeminism as a doctoral researcher and early career academic who, in critiquing 1990s international environmental governance, sought to problematise the essentialist premise on which it appeared to be based. The article thereafter challenges this well-rehearsed critique by carefully revisiting a sample of ecofeminist work produced between the late 1970s and the early 1990s. In an effort to avoid wholesale abandonment of the wealth of feminist theory often labelled as second wave, or the rendering of feminisms of the past as redundant as feminist theory changes over time, this article re-reads the work of ecofeminists, such as Starhawk, Susan Griffin and Vandana Shiva, to demonstrate their contemporary relevance. In so doing, the article argues that a contemporary re-reading of ecofeminism offers insights allowing for a radical rethinking of contemporary environmental governance.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)190-205
Number of pages16
JournalFeminist Theory
Issue number2
Early online date7 Feb 2021
Publication statusPublished - 1 Apr 2021


  • Anthropocene
  • ecofeminisms
  • environmental governance
  • sustainable development


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