Bridge building and barrier breaking between ecosocialism and deep ecology : a metatheoretical perspective : a thesis presented in partial fulfilment of the requirements for the degree of Master of Philosophy in Development Studies at Massey University
The objective of this thesis is to explore the relationships and the theoretical bounds of compatibility between Ecosocialism and Deep Ecology. The ultimate aim of such an exploration is that a suitable synthesis of Ecosocialist and Deep Ecological thought is achieved. Such a synthesis may elude this author, but hopefully some progress towards building bridges and breaking down barriers between the two streams of environmentalism can be made. This 'syn-thesis' concentrates on examining the metatheoretical perspectives of Ecosocialism and Deep Ecology for it is from such an examination that the major incongruities between them can be identified. The metatheories examined include Deep Ecology's unitarianism, Self-realizationism and non-anthropocentrism, and Ecosocialism's communitarianism, sociality and anthropocentrism. There are other theoretical barriers between them but the ones listed above may be interpreted as encompassing those islands of thought, between which bridges can be built. As an aid to the reader, some definition of Ecosocialism and Deep Ecology may be useful: Ecosocialism is a stream of environmentalism that draws on the theoretical background of socialist principles and Marxism to identify environmental problems and effect solutions. Although the productivist outlook of most modern socialisms has been theoretically ejected from Ecosocialism, its continued anthropocentrism keeps it from attaining 'radical' environmentalism status. Deep Ecology is a non-anthropocentric stream of environmentalism that relies on the personal experiences of human individuals with nature to effect environmental attitudes within society. Deep Ecology's 'deepness' has variously been attributed to its deeper respect for nature, its deeper perspective of egalitarianism, its deeper analysis into environmental problems and its deeper affiliation with things spiritual.