The University of Iowa College of Liberal Arts & Sciences Department of English

James O'Connor, "Socialism and Ecology"

  1. What does O'Connor think are the weaknesses of recent socialism? Environmentalism? Capitalism?
  2. What does he mean by "red-green" politics?
  3. What does he think are the advantages of localism? Of a "politics of identity" and culture?
  4. What does he mean by the claim that "world capitalism itself has created the conditions for an ecological socialist movement"? (166)
  5. What are some reasons that the vast majority of ecological problems cannot be addressed at the local level? (pp. 167-68)
  6. What does he see as the flaws of historical Marxism? (p. 169) What should be seen as the relationship between nature and history?
  7. What is his final prescription for a "green socialism"? What is its political form? Its link between the regional and the international? Do some of these ideas seem familiar from other contexts?

Val Plumwood, "Ecosocial Feminism as a General Theory of Oppression"

  1. What is Plumwood's country of origin? How does this influence her choice of examples?
  2. What does Plumwood see as limited about a merely social ecological or deep ecological approach? What are potential limitations to a radical feminist approach? What does she believe are common elements of these approaches?
  3. What does she see as potential strengths of an ecofeminist approach? (209, 210) According to Plumwood, why is a feminist approach valuable for understanding other forms of oppression, such as imperialism? (211)
  4. What does she mean by "the network of oppression"? (211ff) How can one avoid equating different forms of oppression within this "network"? (215)
  5. What is the value of cooperation for choosing ecological strategies? (216) If given a choice, how should one decide which of several objectives to seek?
  6. What does she see as good aspects of the present situation? (216)
  7. What does she see as necessary revisions to an older radical tradition? (217)

Freya Matthews, "Ecofeminism and Deep Ecology"

  1. What is Matthews country of origin? What does she see as basic and somewhat contradictory insights of deep ecology and ecofeminism?
  2. What does she see as some logical inconsistencies with the alleged deep ecological claim that we must leave nature alone? That our morality must be derived from nature?
  3. What does she mean by "the identification dilemma"? (237) Why does she see deep ecology as partial?
  4. What metaphors or set of assumptions does ecofeminism bring to the problem, in her view?
  5. What form of corrective do these two lines of thought have to offer each other?
  6. What final hope may this blended viewpoint offer to potentially despairing environmentalists? (244)


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