Ecofeminism, Food Social Justice 4 | Mary Phillips, Alice Willatt

Ecofeminism, Food Social Justice 4 | Mary Phillips, Alice Willatt

Alice Willatt

Title: “Community Kitchens & Ecofeminist Care Ethics in Practice”

Ecofeminism articulates a radical and politically engaged ethic of care that emphasises the interconnections between humans and the more than human world of which we are intrinsically a part. Alice’s doctoral research seeks to explore the extent to which this care ethic gives meaning to the practices of a community kitchen based in the South of England. The community kitchen has a dual social and environmental justice focus, providing meals made from collected surplus food for people living in food poverty and social isolation. Adopting an action research approach, Alice has worked alongside volunteers of the kitchen to address the tensions and challenges that have emerged as the organisation has expanded from a single community kitchen set up by a group of activists to a large-scale national charity. In particular this transition has allowed her to explore not only how care ethics emerge in practice but also the ways in which they are negotiated and contested. Finally, her research also draws on the rich connections between ecofeminism and the action research tradition, such as their shared social and environmental justice goals and orientation towards creating positive social change.

About the speaker: Alice Willatt is in the third year of her PhD in the Department of Management at the University of Bristol. In particular her research is situated in Critical Management Studies and contributes to the emerging field of inquiry into ‘alternative’ forms of organisation to those based on the economic logic of the market. Alice is also interested in participatory research approaches and exploring academic-activist identities. She is an active member of ARCIO (Action Research and Critical Inquiry in Organisations) and organises a participatory action research reading group for PhD students.

Mary Phillips

Title: “Daring to care: Challenging corporate environmentalism”

Corporate engagement with the pressing environmental challenges faced by the planet are expressions of neoliberal capitalism and based in concepts of ecological modernism. These propose that expanding the role of the market to allocate resources, the identification of appropriate opportunities for further growth and the development of new technologies will provide effective means of environmental stewardship. This talk argues that while corporate environmentalism conforms to capitalism’s own ethical rationality, such a rationality has proved ineffective in halting the destruction of the living world. To bring about the changes required to ensure planetary flourishing, we need to look elsewhere. The talk will propose that an ecofeminist and embodied ethic of care can provide a resource on which to build a more radical commitment to healthy, life-affirming relationships. These celebrate the interconnections between human and more than human nature and value affective engagements with the living world. Ecofeminist care ethics strive to develop a practical morality from which to motivate action to contest corporate abuse of human and nonhuman nature.

About the speaker: Mary Phillips is a Reader in Organisation Studies at the University of Bristol. Her research focuses on transformative, and particularly feminist, alternatives to the neoliberal agenda on planetary flourishing. She has published in journals such as Culture & Organization, Gender, Work & Organization, Organization and Organization Studies. Her recent anthology: Contemporary Perspectives on Ecofeminism was published by Routledge in 2015. She is also active in green politics, and a member of both the Green Party and Frome Anti-Fracking.

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