Radical ecology and critical theory: A critique of the environmental movement

05/11/2013 07:22

David Bruce Martin, University of Massachusetts - Amherst


The thesis of this dissertation is that the reconstitution of human subjectivity, theoretically and concretely, is necessary to adequately address the global ecological crisis and ongoing social and political domination and exploitation. Initial attempts to constitute this new ecological subject exist in the radical ecology movement (recognized by Rudolf Bahro and Herbert Marcuse in the 1970s), examined here through three primary branches of the radicalized environmental movement: deep ecology, social ecology, and ecofeminism. Aspects of this radical ecological subject are revealed in a critique based on the work of the early Frankfurt School theorists--Theodor Adorno, Max Horkheimer, and Herbert Marcuse. Adorno's understanding of negative dialectics, or non-identity thinking, is the primary source of categories for the analysis. Jurgen Habermas's critique of Adorno is rejected, and Habermas's "communicative action" theory is also found to be inadequate for radical ecological needs.  [Read more] ...