From manstream measuring to multispecies sustainability? A gendered reading of bee-ing sustainable

Olivia Davies, Kathleen Riach

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleResearchpeer-review

5 Citations (Scopus)


This article draws on an ethnography of bee-work to explore how androcentrism is enacted and disrupted in environmental organizing practices. We first situate the study in recent debates surrounding sustainability, viewing this as one organizing project that informs the recent 'Save the Bees' discourse and initiatives proliferating the global North. Theoretically inspired by ideas from political ecology and feminist materialism, we suggest that dominant 'bee-saving' practices are enacted through masculinist conceptions of 'manstream' measuring. Focusing on biosecurity inspections during one significant pollination event, we draw on three motifs to explore both the enactment and disruption of sanitized, linear and falsely bounded distinctions that often re/produce practices which have outcomes counter to their intended objectives. Reflecting on three field-based moments - Pests, Protection and Pace - we consider the possibilities for an alternative modality of multispecies sustainability that is inspired by a new materialism agenda. This not only serves to dismantle inherent binaries through paying attention to the ontological muddling of species, but also helps to consider the productive relations that may emerge when we depart from masculinist modes of sustainable thinking in organizational and institutional settings.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)246-266
Number of pages21
JournalGender, Work and Organization
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - Apr 2019


  • Animals at work
  • Apiculture
  • Bees
  • Companion species
  • Multispecies ethnography
  • New materialisms
  • Sustainability

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