Environmentalism in Popular Culture
240 pages, 6 x 9
Release Date:12 Dec 2008

Environmentalism in Popular Culture

Gender, Race, Sexuality, and the Politics of the Natural

The University of Arizona Press
In this thoughtful and highly readable book, Noël Sturgeon illustratesthe myriad and insidious ways in which American popular culture depictssocial inequities as “natural” and how our images of“nature” interfere with creating solutions to environmentalproblems that are just and fair for all. Why is it, she wonders, thatenvironmentalist messages in popular culture so often“naturalize” themes of heroic male violence, suburbannuclear family structures, and U.S. dominance in the world? And what dothese patterns of thought mean for how we envision environmentalsolutions, like “green” businesses, recycling programs, andthe protection of threatened species?
Although there are other books that examine questions of culture andenvironment, this is the first book to employ a global feministenvironmental justice analysis to focus on how racial inequality,gendered patterns of work, and heteronormative ideas about the familyrelate to environmental questions. Beginning in the late 1980s andmoving to the present day, Sturgeon unpacks a variety of culturaltropes, including ideas about Mother Nature, the purity of the natural,and the allegedly close relationships of indigenous people with thenatural world. She investigates the persistence of the “myth ofthe frontier” and its extension to the frontier of spaceexploration. She ponders the popularity (and occasional controversy) ofpenguins (and penguin family values) and questions assumptions abouthuman warfare as “natural.”

The book is intended to provoke debates—among college studentsand graduate students, among their professors, among environmentalactivists, and among all citizens who are concerned with issues ofenvironmental quality and social equality.

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