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Lording it over the Goddess : water, gender and human-environmental relations.

Strang, V. (2014) 'Lording it over the Goddess : water, gender and human-environmental relations.', Journal of feminist studies in religion., 30 (1). pp. 83-107.


Focusing on human engagements with water, this article steps back from specifically cultural or historical contexts in order to trace the larger patterns of social, religious, and technological change that have transformed most societies' relationships with their environments. It examines transitions from totemic “nature religions” to male-dominated and hierarchical belief systems, and considers how these intersected with shifts to settlement and agriculture, differentiated gender roles, and stratified sociopolitical arrangements. With developments in farming, enlarging societies moved from egalitarian partnerships with other species and ecosystems to more directive interactions. Irrigation channeled water into human interests. Initially seen as embodying female principles, it became the gift of male religious beings. From being a common good, it became subject to male property rights. Long understood as the substance of social and spiritual regeneration, it was reframed as an economic “asset.” Observing these transformations, the article also considers long-term contraflows: indigenous struggles; subaltern religions; and environmentalist and feminist challenges to sociopolitical inequalities.

Item Type:Article
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Publisher statement:This article was published as Strang, V. (2014). Lording it over the Goddess: water, gender and human-environmental relations. Journal of Feminist Studies in Religion 30(1): 83-107. No part of this article may be reproduced, stored in a retrieval system, transmitted, or distributed, in any form, by any means, electronic, mechanical, photographic, or otherwise, without the prior permission of Indiana University Press. For educational re-use, please contact the Copyright Clearance Center (508-744-3350). For all other permissions, please visit Indiana University Press
Date accepted:No date available
Date deposited:04 August 2016
Date of first online publication:April 2014
Date first made open access:No date available

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