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Gender and Nature

  • By: Alex Loftus
  • In: Encyclopedia of Geography
  • Edited by: Barney Warf
  • Subject:General Geography, Earth & Environmental Science

Gender and nature are two of the most powerful concepts through which our understandings of the world are shaped. They are central to the framework of meanings through which people tend to view themselves and (human and nonhuman) others. Mutually reinforcing, conceptions of gender and nature are inextricably intertwined. Geographers’ interest in these two concepts has been driven by an interest in exploring these connections and, perhaps more important, by efforts to destabilize the assumed nature-given categories of man, woman, and nature.

The term gender, as used in contemporary social theory, emerged as part of this denaturalizing impulse. Gender is generally understood to be a social category that can be distinguished from the biological (or nature-given) category of sex. Thus, early feminist theorists delineated gender as ...

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