chapter  4
16 Pages

Feminist theory and nature

This chapter presents the feminist debate about nature and its relation to the social from a Marxist-critical realist point of view. It addresses the nature-phobic tendencies within feminist theory, disentangles the problematic premises underpinning them and demonstrates that these tend to affirm rather than challenge the idea of nature on which socio-biologistic arguments draw. The chapter introduces the feminist naturalistic turn as a welcome effort to counter nature-phobic tendencies, by focusing on the work of Grosz. It demonstrates that a theoretical acknowledgement of nature's limiting force is crucial for any coherent understanding of socially constructed, oppressive constraints. The chapter explores that the commonplace feminist ambition to transcend the dualism between nature and culture is often underpinned by remarkably unclear notions of what such a transcendence might mean. It then shows that the concept of emergence offers a solution to prevailing dilemmas, by highlighting the difference between dualisms and distinctions.