Agriculture and Human Values

, Volume 34, Issue 4, pp 983–994 | Cite as

Dualisms shaping human-nature relations: discovering the multiple meanings of social-ecological change in Wayanad

  • Isabelle Kunze


This paper reflects on the impacts of agrarian change and social reorganisation on gender-nature relations through the lens of an indigenous group named the Kuruma in South India. Building upon recent work of feminist political ecology, I uncover a number of dualisms attached to the gender-nature nexus and put forward that gender roles are constituted by social relations which need to be analysed with regard to the transformative potential of gender-nature relations. Three main themes are at the centre of the empirical inquiry: gender subjectivities, rural off-farm employment and the human-nature nexus. I seek to show that, first, the production of gendered subjectivities cannot be simplified through essentialist assumptions that romanticise women’s relationships with nature; second, off-farm employment strategies both reinforce the social hierarchy in gender and contradict the Kuruma’s moral economies; and, finally, environmental and agrarian change redefine the use of agrobiodiversity and are related to ideas on progressive versus nonprogressive cultivation practices. The research is informed by qualitative research methods and offers a conceptual approach to the deconstruction of gender-nature relations from a poststructuralist feminist perspective.


Agrarian change Feminist political ecology Kerala 


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media Dordrecht 2016

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Chair of Comparative Development and Cultural Studies - Southeast AsiaUniversity of PassauLangenfeldGermany

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