Qualitative Sociology

, Volume 16, Issue 3, pp 247-262

First online:

Women and toxic waste protests: Race, class and gender as resources of resistance

  • Celene KraussAffiliated withDepartment of Sociology, Kean College of New Jersey

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In recent years, women have been at the forefront of grassroot toxic waste protests in the United States. Out of their experience of protest, women construct ideologies of environmental justice, which reveal broader issues of inequality underlying environmental hazards. I examine the environmental discourse of white working class, African American and Native American women activists. The voices of these women show the ways in which their traditional role as mothers becomes a resource for their resistance. At the same time, their emerging analysis of environmental justice is mediated by different experiences of class, race, and ethnicity.

Key Words

toxic wastes grassroot protests environmental justice motherhood feminist standpoint methodologies