Individual freedom or eco-social justice?: autonomous self or interconnected self?




Reed, Mark

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This thesis explores how two opposing world views espoused respectively by two social movements coexist within our society. One view holds that humans, non-humans, and all of nature are interconnected and interdependent. Its proponents believe that social justice should, therefore, be extended to all of nature. The other view holds that people are autonomous, independent individuals, each with a fundamental right to freedom from the coercion by others. Its proponents believe that social justice is a means of social control and. so. is incompatible with freedom. Four activists for each of these social movements were interviewed to understand their personal world views and to gain insights on the social implications of the coexistence of their respective projects. While the 'freedom' activists understand nature as being hierarchical and the'eco-social justice' activists deny a hierarchy, agreements between the two groups and disagreements within them suggest a dynamic mechanism for social change.



social justice, liberty