Sherilyn MacGregor

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Listen to Sherilyn MacGregor’s conversation on Lessons From Lockdown: The Podcast

Key Takeaways:

Pondering how academia is changing, the questions we’re asking are around how much time academics need to travel, how much time do they need to be in the same room together; how do you retain the value of face-to-face teaching

On the countries navigating the virus with female leaders…yes, they’re female, but they also have a particular political ideology or view of the world that is possible a more progressive, left-wing, feminist view of what leadership is and what it is to be a collective. Boris Johnson and Donald Trump are both rich, privileged men, but they are also conservative, neoliberals who haven’t shown much concern for the public good…’Whether it’s to do with gender or ideology, I think we need to continue to interrogate that.’

Connection between how people see the pandemic and how people see climate change; climate crisis is a slowly unfolding crisis that is getting worse but not prompting any action; the pandemic resulted in overnight changes that climate activists have been asking for over the past 30 years.

On why language is important and why we need to approach the crisis messaging intentionally from a position of care. We’re using language from past events, like war or military action, to help us make sense of things. ‘I want people to question the word ‘lockdown’ and how we’re using it. It comes from prisons and solitary confinement and people being locked down against their will. We’re voluntarily staying out of reach of other people for their own good and our own good. We shouldn’t see it as a negative thing. We’re doing it out of care for other people.’

Climate activists have been calling for a New Green Deal with a ‘just transition’ to low-carbon, high-tech jobs, but after this crisis a feminist New Green Deal and a ‘just recovery’ may be more appropriate with a focus on restoring wellbeing and healing. We need to value properly the people who are doing caring labour – much of it already low-carbon – that makes society run.

The Gift:

The book I’ve been looking at in the last couple of weeks is Rebecca Solnit’s Hope in the Dark. It’s a book that makes you think that hope is a political act. There are reasons to be hopeful and being hopeful doesn’t mean you’re being utopian or Pollyanna-ish or naive. But you can find rational and smart reasons to be hopeful.



Sherilyn MacGregor is Reader in Environmental Politics in the Department of Politics and the Sustainable Consumption Institute at the University of Manchester. Her research focusses on interconnections between feminist and environmental politics and between sustainability and social justice.

She is originally from Ottawa, Canada and has lived in north-west England since immigrating in 2004.

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