Fighting for the River portrays women's intimate, embodied relationships with river waters and explores how those relationships embolden local communities' resistance to private run-of-the-river hydroelectric power plants in Turkey. Building on extensive ethnographic research, Özge Yaka develops a body-centered, phenomenological approach to women's environmental activism and combines it with a relational ontological perspective. In this way, the book pushes beyond the "natural resources" frame to demonstrate how our corporeal connection to nonhuman entities is constitutive of our more-than-human lifeworld. Fighting for the River takes the human body as a starting point to explore the connection between lived experience and nonhuman environments, treating bodily senses and affects as the media of more-than-human connectivity and political agency. Analyzing local environmental struggles as struggles for coexistence, Yaka frames human-nonhuman relationality as a matter of socio-ecological justice.
Fighting for the River Gender, Body, and Agency in Environmental Struggles
About the Book
Reviews"Özge Yaka has written a beautiful book: ethnographically rich, theoretically innovative, emotionally profound. Fighting for the River is a must-read for feminists, environmentalists, students of Turkey and of neoliberalism–for all who seek to integrate history and body, activism and affect, critique and empathetic understanding."—Nancy Fraser, New School for Social Research
"A compelling and important account of environmental struggle. In Fighting for the River, Yaka develops an original approach to thinking lifeworlds as embodied, emergent, relational, and political."—James Ash, Reader in Technology, Space and Society, Newcastle University
"It is vital today to understand the true impact of development projects like hydroelectric dams on both the local ecology and the human community. Even more vital is to uncover the genuine, lived experience of such interventions. Yaka interweaves high-powered academic research, embodied knowledge, and firsthand narratives to reveal the real story behind the search for socio-ecological justice in energy production. This book is a must-read for both academics and anyone interested in our common future."—Ingrid Leman Stefanovic, editor of The Wonder of Water and Ethical Water Stewardship.
"Yaka's inspiring book transports us into the lifeworlds of ordinary women in rural Turkey. Business attempts to dam nearby rivers sparked these women into extraordinary acts of political activism. Yaka shows how their deep ties to water and land lent them the courage to take on powerful outside interests."—Noel Castree, Professor of Geography, University of Manchester
"Fighting for the River rethinks grassroots environmental activism by starting from the myriad relations that bodies have with human and nonhuman others and environments. Putting recent relational scholarship including feminist phenomenology and ecological thinking into dialogue with long-term empirical work on grassroots environmental groups in Turkey resisting hydropower development, the book explores how the demand and desire for socio-ecological justice emerges through deeply affective entanglements with water and other nonhumans. Rivers are revealed to be companions to women's lives, inseparable from a host of affective responses, sensations, and felt emotions. The result is a profound, moving meditation on how we might better coexist with others in times of ecological crisis and struggle. In its passionate care for how worlds are built with others, the book demonstrates how relational thinking might help us to rethink today's pressing ecological problems."—Ben Anderson, Professor of Geography, Durham UniversityRead More >