The denaturing of environmental sustainability is observably accelerating; and continuously bringing into question the proficiency of capitalism to superintend the proliferating risks of global climate change. Industrial modernization involves exploitative subjugation; and the capitalization of the natural environment is an integral feature of this capitalist dynamic. It is evident that the preceding modes of industrial capitalism have modernized in disregard of issues of sustainability in the expenditure of renewable resources. 'Risk society' is the unintended outcome or reverse-side consequences of industrial capitalist opulence.
According to Ulrich Beck, the conditions of the risk society precipitate changes at the level of individual apprehension. In the risk society, insecurities erupt through the disjunctures, contradictions and conflicts that capillary from industrial society into subsequent orders of modernity. The current milieu of privatized securities erodes collective solidarities, individuating identities and undermining a social defense against local experiences of global risks. Nowhere is this clearer than in the paralyzing grip of environmental crisis. Overwhelmed by the unprecedented magnitudes of environmental risks, political institutions no longer profess to guarantee present and future wellbeing. Faced with the local immediacy of international environmental risks, individuals are compelled into defensive action. Beck describes 'sub-politics' as confrontational and immediate, a direct political engagement indexed to the particular locality of disjuncture. It is a politics of the moment, in the moment.
Ecofeminist Water Ecology explores the sub-political geographies of river restoration so as to critically examine the extent to which 'meta-industrial labour' is the fundamental, material and symbolic mediation of ecological activism. Michel Foucault identifies inter-relationships between sign technologies (inscriptive signs, symbolic medium, signification); technologies of production (transformation of material things); technologies of power (objectivising categorization); and technologies of the self (self-regulating abilities of subjects to impact discourse on the cultivation of body and soul).
Primarily informed by organizational ethnographies, extensive interviews and ethnographic observations of river restorations Ecofeminist Water Ecology empirically examines how symbolic mediations of ecological activism are inextricably bound up with 'government' i.e., shifting assemblages of formal and informal agencies, practices and institutions that variously and differentially align the self-regulating ability of subjects with the design, objectives and scope of a regime of governance. Emerging through this assemblage can be located a 'feminine ideal' through which river restoration is symbolically mediated. But the operation of assemblages of actions upon actions through symbolic mediations of ecological activism, in terms of the 'feminine ideal', is not prescriptive or directly imposed upon subjects. Ecofeminist Water Ecology extensively illustrates how, the symbolic mediations of ecological activism exemplify the manifold ways in which the exercise of power opens up a field of possibilities for the cultivation of gender identities.