Val Plumwood and ecofeminist political solidarity: Standing with the natural other

Ethics and the Environment 14 (2):pp. 3-21 (2009)
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Abstract

Val Plumwood has asserted that the appropriate stance toward the more-than-human world is not one of identification or unity, but of solidarity "in the political sense." But can the language of solidarity be extended or revised to articulate a particular kind of ethico-political relationship between humans and the more-than-human world? Can the term "political solidarity" be accurately and productively used to describe a relationship between humans and the more-than-human world in which humans and non-humans struggle together to alter ecosocially-oppressive states of affairs? What else is at stake in this question? The work of Plumwood prompts ecofeminism to attend to these inquiries. In this essay, the work of Plumwood is brought together with that of feminist political philosopher Sally Scholz, who offers a non-environmental account of political solidarity. This essay shows how both theorists, despite disagreement over whether non-humans can be "in" solidarity with the more-than-human world, intend that the concept of solidarity do the same sort of ethico-political work in achieving mutuality without hegemonic over-identification with the oppressed by the privileged. Then, to examine how solidarity between humans and the more-than-human world works "in action," the essay ends with a brief consideration of the shared political life of human and non-human actors in the direct-action forest defense movement of the Pacific Northwest.

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Chaone Mallory
University of Oregon

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