Beyond Mothering Earth
296 pages, 6 x 9
Release Date:01 Jan 2007
Release Date:15 May 2006
Release Date:01 Jan 2007

Beyond Mothering Earth

Ecological Citizenship and the Politics of Care

UBC Press

Women’s environmental activism is often described in maternalist terms – as if motherhood and caring for the environment go hand in hand. While feminists celebrate this connection, women and all those who care for people and environments are facing increasing burdens and decreasing time for civic engagement.

In Beyond Mothering Earth, MacGregor argues that celebrations of “earthcare” as women’s unique contribution to the search for sustainability often neglect to consider the importance of politics and citizenship in women’s lives. Drawing on interviews with women who juggle private caring with civic engagement in quality-of-life concerns, she proposes an alternative: a project of feminist ecological citizenship that affirms the practice of citizenship as an intrinsically valuable activity while recognizing the foundational aspects of caring labour and natural processes that allow its specificity to flourish.

Beyond Mothering Earth provides an original and empirically grounded understanding of women’s involvement in quality-of-life activism and an analysis of citizenship that makes an important contribution to contemporary discussions of green politics, globalization, neoliberalism, and democratic justice. It will be of value to scholars and activists interested in the politics of environmental sustainability and the shifting meanings of citizenship in an increasingly vulnerable world.


  • 2008, Shortlisted - Book Award, Canadian Women’s Studies Association
Sherilyn MacGregor recasts women’s involvement in environmental activism by developing a theory of feminist ecological citizenship and offering clear connections between theory and practice. This is an original and timely initiative that will engage green theorists, feminist and environmental scholars, and activists alike. Maureen Reed, author of Taking Stands: Gender and the Sustainability of Rural Communities, and co-author of Our Environment: A Canadian Perspective (3rd ed.)
A ground-breaking, provocative book that establishes Sherilyn MacGregor as a serious ecofeminist political thinker whose ideas need to taken into account and acknowledged by existing ecofeminist, feminist, and green scholarship. John Barry, author of Rethinking Green Politics and Environment and Social Theory and co-editor of The State and the Global Ecological Crisis
Sherilyn MacGregor received her PhD from the Faculty of Environmental Studies at York University in Toronto. She is currently a lecturer in the School of Politics, International Relations, and Philosophy at Keele University in the UK.


1 Introduction: Earthcare or Feminist Ecological Citizenship?

Part One: Theoretical Interrogations

2 The Roots and Rhetoric of Ecomaternalism

3 Down among the Women: Ecofeminism and Identity Politics at the Grassroots

4 From Care to Citizenship: Calling Ecofeminism Back to Politics

5 The Problems and Possibilities of Ecological Citizenship

Part Two: Conversations

6 Conversations with Activist Women: Towards a Counter-Narrative

7 The Private, the Public, and the Planet: Juggling Care and Activism in Daily Life

8 Activist Women Theorize the Green Political

9 No Motherhood Issue: The Project of Feminist Ecological Citizenship

Appendix: Research Process and Methods




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