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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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Responding to Restrictionism

Responding to Restrictionism

(p.121) 4 Responding to Restrictionism
Border Walls Gone Green

John Hultgren

University of Minnesota Press

This chapter reviews responses to environmental restrictionism, identifying the main discourse on which opponents have relied. Finding that while opposition to restrictionism is varied, generally critics adopted a discourse of global environmental justice founded on an opposition between the deterritorialized realities of nature and the territorialized realities of sovereignty. Their arguments usually thrust that sovereignty is inherently anthropocentric and exclusionary, whereas nature is an inherently borderless, emancipatory force.This chapter is sympathetic to the global environmental justice discourse. It argues that it is politically disabling on three interrelated grounds: it pays insufficient attention to the discursive production of nature; it levels a critique of environmental restrictionism that is excessively reliant on a portrayal of individual restrictionists as racist, and it introduces a counter discourse that rests on an ahistorical and oversimplified vision of immigrants as “noble savages,” which prevents immigrants from full inclusion in environmental politics.It concludes by suggesting that though the activists who oppose restrictionism effectively respond to its iterations, their current efforts are incapable of combating the more politically savvy discourse of ecocommunitarianism. An alternative discursive intervention is needed to destabilize the seemingly beneficent articulations between nature and sovereignty on which ecocommunitarian restrictionists rely.

Keywords:   environmental, restrictionism, opposition, nature, sovereignty, global, discourse, racist, immigrants, nativist

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