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Naturopathy and ecofeminism : an alternative perspective of gender politics.

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Abstract

Naturopathy and ecofeminism : an alternative perspective of gender politics. By Anahita Grisoni, PhD Candidate, EHESS, Paris This paper is based on a field work leaded in Paris from 2006 to 2009 with a large number naturopathy customers and professionals. This alternative/ complementary medicine, part of the New Age religious movement, constitutes a manifestation of the gender relationship redefining. The dynamic is funded on the philosophical and spiritual eco-feminism basis, directed not only against the so-called capitalistic patriarchate, but also against the hegemonic secular and egalitarian conception of feminism. The New Age movement is inspired by elements of Far-East religion, like Buddhism, Confucianism, or Hinduism. This religious current, received in inheritance from the Gnostic movement, establishes a cosmo-morphologic system of correspondence between individual, social and macro-social elements: human body, food, urban shapes, and also the world, planet and universe representations. This socio-religious frame redraws a new cartography, in which the concept of Orient corresponds to the idea of woman and femininity. The aim of naturopathy actors, males and females, is to head for the feminine part of themselves. Beyond this individual dimension, this redefinition contains political claims. Firstly, the health autonomy quest is opposed to the body discipline, imposed by the State through public health institutions. Secondly, it proposes an alternative conception of women social role, against the capitalistic and feminist model, which offers liberation through the work. In fact, the ecofeminist model, represented by naturopathy actors, protests against the hegemonic conception of feminism defended by Elisabeth Badinter, in her book Le conflit, la femme et la mere, published in 2010. Moreover, it redefines the dichotomy between tradition and modernity, giving an eco-feminist explanation for the housewife figure. Last but not least, it redraws the definitions and the relationships between femininity and masculinity.