Embodied ways of knowing: women’s eco-activism




Mortimore, Lisa Michelle

Journal Title

Journal ISSN

Volume Title



Traditional knowledges and ways of living in harmony with the Earth and among species have been disregarded, discarded, and destroyed as industrialisation, capitalism, and globalisation have pervaded, all maintained in part by the Cartesian split which dissociates body from mind, heaven from Earth, nature from culture. These hegemonic layers of control have served to bind the fate of the Earth’s eco-systems, including human life, to the global capital economy which thrives on growth and development at any and all costs. This feminist, arts-informed inquiry brought an embodied lens to the stories of eco-activism and inquired as to the role of embodied ways of knowing and their role in eco-activism and the toll of activism upon women eco-activist bodies. This research inquiry interviewed thirteen women eco-activists, conducted four art-making focus groups, and used embodied reflexivity as part of the analysis process in order to find new understandings and knowledge to add to the limited literature on embodiment, embodied ways of knowing, and women’s eco-activism. Furthermore, this research sought to identify and articulate the ways in which activism practice can be more sustainable for activists and intended to add to the growing awareness body/mind connection and unity consciousness for activists, educators, and others working towards social change. The key findings of this research indicate that embodied knowledges counter fragmented ways of living, foster sustainable practices, and offer guidance and direction to live more harmoniously with, and on, the Earth and to practice activism. It also expands our understanding of women’s embodied ways of knowing and illuminates our understandings of how bodies can guide and show alternate ways of living, and practising activism, that are sustainable. This inquiry further added to the growing awareness of body/mind connection and unity consciousness with a focus on activists, educators, and others interested in finding ways to live with, rather than on, the Earth.



embodiment, activism, arts-based inquiry, feminist, embodied reflexivity, unity consciousness, eco-activist, mind/body, dualism, women