Macquarie University
2 files

Environmental justice and the ecofeminist perspective: bridging the gap between law and justice

Download all (1.6 MB)
posted on 2022-03-29, 01:23 authored by Irene Lieselotte Wex
This thesis addresses the conflicting relationship between law and justice from an ecological feminist - or an ecofeminist perspective - and bridges the gap through the incorporation of Derrida's methodological approach of deconstruction. Derrida's approach is not only compatible with the ecofeminist perspective, but also enhances the analytical approach that is characteristically employed by ecofeminists. Derrida's deconstructive methodology further creates the necessary space to bring about change for the victims of oppression that have so far been excluded from the dominant discourse through the incorporation of 'différance'. -- To contextualise the approach taken in this thesis, an overview of the historical rise of environmentalism as a social and political movement and of environmental ethics as a philosophical discipline, are explored. In addition, the views of prominent environmental philosophers and legal theorists of both feminist and non-feminist persuasions are examined to capture an overall account of the shortcomings in current legal theory and practice and to provide a path for the law to tread. -- The four case studies that form the focus of this thesis are: the Australian Federal Government's recently introduced clean energy package, the New South Wales Anvil Hill case, the treatment and slaughtering of intensively farmed animals, and the culling practices of unwanted and feral animals. These case studies have been specifically selected because they epitomise the conflicting relationship between law and justice, and expose that both decision-making and law-making processes take place in an anthropocentric and gender-biased society that fails to incorporate other perspectives. -- The first two case studies address two highly topical and current issues in Australian environmental law and politics: the ongoing community opposition to the coal seam gas (CSG) industry and the ongoing debates concerning the effectiveness of an emissions trading scheme as the best solution to reduce Australia's carbon footprint. The next two case studies address the position of animals that are least afforded protection under the law, namely intensively farmed animals and unwanted or feral animals. These case studies serve to expose that animals are only viewed in terms of their usefulness to humans, and that even recognition of their sentience in law has little effect on their well-being while they are alive or on their suffering in the slaughtering process, either as captive animals or as animals in the wild.


Table of Contents

1. Introduction -- 2. The theoretical framework -- 3. Jacques Derrida and the ecofeminist vision of law and justice -- 4. Climate law in Australia -- 5. Animal law in Australia -- 6. Conclusion -- Bibliography -- Appendix I: Irene Wex, 'Ecofeminism and environmental justice': paper presented at the 9th Global Conference for Environmental Justice and Global Citizenship in Oxford (July 2010) and published under Irene Hoetzer in Engaging with Environmental Justice: Governance, Education and Citizenship (Interdisciplinary Press 2011).


"2012 Bibliography: pages 196-236 A thesis submitted in fulfilment of the requirements for the degree of Doctor of Philosophy in Law"

Awarding Institution

Macquarie University

Degree Type

Thesis PhD


PhD, Macquarie University, Macquarie Law School, Centre for Environmental Law

Department, Centre or School

Centre for Environmental Law

Year of Award


Principal Supervisor

Erika Techera

Additional Supervisor 1

Natalie Klein


Copyright disclaimer: Copyright Irene Lieselotte Wex 2013.




xii, 236 pages

Former Identifiers

mq:27801 2066284