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New Left Review I/217, May-June 1996

Cecile Jackson

Still Stirred by the Promise of Modernity

Ariel Salleh’s comment is revealingly angry and abusive; she challenges my environmental credentials [1] Far from thinking ecology an irritating new world view, I have been concerned and intellectually engaged with gender, development and environmental studies and issues for 23 years. I certainly did not intend to suggest that there had been no feminist involvement with Green theory, merely to point out, as indeed Salleh’s exclusively ecofeminist references suggest, that this has been a particular sort of engagement, especially with radical feminism, to the exclusion of other approaches to gender and environmental relations. Salleh objects to my ‘recent self positioning’ as ‘oddly uninformed’, and whilst I quite like being labelled an ignorant upstart I am afraid the image really reflects the divisions between discourses. and my gender reflexivity; I am sexist, racist, masculinist and massaging ‘a defensive old-school socialist demeanour’. Unfortunately this leads her to a perverse reading of my paper, for example my statement that that not all things that women do are feminist is taken as saying that only Western women can arrive at a notion of feminism. Leaving name-calling aside, as far as possible I have grouped together the comments by Mary Mellor and Ariel Salleh in order to keep my reply brief, and deal with their view that I ignore the radical potential of ecofeminism and ‘unfairly’ group it with ecocentrism and animal rights; that I am afflicted with dualism and fail to recognize the significance of biological and ecological limits; that I defend science and deny the epistemologically privileged position of women in subsistence communities; that self-determination, autonomy, modernity and humanism are inconsistent with a feminist green future.

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