Date of Award

Spring 1-1-2013

Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Arts (MA)



First Advisor

Ajume Wingo

Second Advisor

Alison Jaggar

Third Advisor

Benjamin Hale


If politics is the study of how we do and should live with others, then community is the lived expression of politics. Within political philosophy, however, community is an oft misused and neglected tool that functions to illegitimate genuine interspecies politics by narrowly conceiving of the communal "with" and "we." Following a critical genealogical examination of the dominant communal discourse, I offer the theory of communal "ecodependence" as a fresh, though not rootless, approach to community. I will argue that by emphasizing the irreducible and lively nature of community, the ecodependent approach not only avoids the additive, atomistic, anthroponormative, and proprietary pitfalls of the orthodox framework but seeks to repair the damage done by these ‘four threads.’ Ultimately, the goal of reframing communal entities and bonds ecodependently is to generate meaningful political response to the inter- and intra-species injustices that so often take root in community’s potentially liberatory soils.