Participatory Democracy and Social Justice: The Politics of Women's Environmental Action in India
Sapra, Sonalini Kaur
In this dissertation, I build on the framework of Feminist Political Ecology by offering a comparative analysis of the strategies of three women's environmental groups in a single country. I find that, although they face an array of different obstacles and employ various strategies in their activism, all three groups analytically connect their problems to both a lack of participatory democracy and the marginalization of women. I argue that their lack of engagement with state and local governance structures is at times problematic. I further contend that representations of women in their activism are motivated either by ecofeminist understandings of women as closer to nature or paradoxical notions of women as more efficient environmental managers. By offering a critical eye on these groups' activism, I join marginalized citizens within their organizations in reflecting on and improving their struggle for environmental and social justice. Using an immanent critique, I make both a theoretical and methodological contribution to the field of Feminist Political Ecology.