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Border Walls Gone GreenNature and Anti-immigrant Politics in America$
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John Hultgren

Print publication date: 2015

Print ISBN-13: 9780816694976

Published to Minnesota Scholarship Online: May 2016

DOI: 10.5749/minnesota/9780816694976.001.0001

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Naturalizing Nativism

Naturalizing Nativism

(p.55) 2 Naturalizing Nativism
Border Walls Gone Green

John Hultgren

University of Minnesota Press

This chapter analyzes two discourses of contemporary environmental restrictionism: social nativism and ecological nativism. Social nativism refers to traditional nativist and white nationalist ideologies that seek to secure American sovereignty against the “nonwhite invasion.” While social nativists routinely draw on nature as a symbol of disorder, they periodically deploy ecocentric concerns in attempts to appeal to those beyond the far right. By contrast, econativism refers to individuals and organizations or whom ecocentric commitments to nature have come to intersect with commitments to sovereignty driven by racial and cultural essentializations. It argues that econativism represents a form of neoracism through which “natural” visions of sovereignty serve to shore up visions of natural purity, and vice versa. It concludes by arguing that because the cultural essentializations prevalent in the discourse are so clearly racialized, it is unlikely that either of these discourses could work to broaden the support for environmental restrictionism, though they may deepen anti-immigrant sentiment within the far right. For this reason, a new discourse is emerging in an attempt to appeal to “progressive environmentalists.”

Keywords:   environmental restrictionism, social nativism, ecological nativism, american sovereignty, contemporary, racial, cultural, anti-immigrant, progressive environmentalists

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