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Mother / Nature: Popular Culture and Environmental Ethics
     

Mother / Nature: Popular Culture and Environmental Ethics

by Catherine M. Roach
 

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This brief but ambitious book aims to explore our relationship with nature by taking a critical look at the imagery we use when we talk about Mother Nature. Using the critical tools of religious studies, psychology, and gender studies, Catherine M. Roach examines the various manifestations of nature as "mother" and what that idea implies for the way we approach the

Overview

This brief but ambitious book aims to explore our relationship with nature by taking a critical look at the imagery we use when we talk about Mother Nature. Using the critical tools of religious studies, psychology, and gender studies, Catherine M. Roach examines the various manifestations of nature as "mother" and what that idea implies for the way we approach the natural world. The first part of the book, "Nature as Good Mother," examines the notion that nature is, or is like, a beneficent and nurturing mother who provides and maintains life. It begins with a study of the green slogan "Love Your Mother" and asks about the effects -- for women and for the environment -- of imputing female gender to nature. Roach asks us to examine the associations with motherhood and mothering that this imagery carries within a culture still shaped by patriarchy. She notes the danger of such an apparently pro-environmental slogan if "mother" evokes the bountiful, self-sacrificing provider who herself requires no care. Part two, "Nature as Bad Mother," looks at the contrary notion of nature as the violent, threatening, and wrathful mother, which image appears in contexts that present humans and their technology as masters of unruly nature. Here Roach draws on theological reflection to analyze this ambivalence toward nature in terms of a fantasy that casts humans as gods. Here, too, she explores the contributions of eco-theology and eco-psychology to a "heart of darkness" perspective. Finally, "Nature as Hurt Mother" looks at the possibilities and pitfalls of environmental healing inherent in the image of nature as a mother we have wounded and now seek to heal.

Editorial Reviews

Library Journal
Roach (religious studies, Univ. of Alabama) analyzes the maternal imagery used to describe the environment because she believes it functions semiconsciously, in a gendered and ambivalent way, to perpetuate human environmental destruction and often to denigrate women as well. Combining religious studies, psychology, and gender analysis, Roach pays particular attention to advertisements and slogans, such as the environmentalist plea to "Love Your Mother." Dividing her analysis into three parts-"Nature as Good Mother," "Nature as Bad Mother," and "Nature as Hurt Mother"-Roach finds all three problematic both for the environment and for women. Her book closes with positive suggestions about healing imagery that motivates environmental reparation and leads beyond human self-interest to changed human behavior toward the environment. This deeply thoughtful book takes a broad look at contemporary culture and is recommended for large public libraries and for specialized theological, environmental, feminist, and popular culture collections.-Carolyn M. Craft, Longwood Univ., Farmville, VA Copyright 2003 Reed Business Information.

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780253109781
Publisher:
Indiana University Press
Publication date:
01/30/2003
Sold by:
Barnes & Noble
Format:
NOOK Book
Pages:
240
File size:
2 MB

Meet the Author

Catherine M. Roach is Assistant Professor of New College and Religious Studies at the University of Alabama.

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