Three decades after Catton and Dunlap's (1978, 1980) pioneering work, the promise and potential of environmental sociology remain unrealized. Despite the proliferation of theoretical frameworks and empirical foci, a "new ecological paradigm" capable of theorizing the interactions between social structures, human agency, and biophysical environments has yet to emerge. I explore this impasse by tracing the parallels between the Darwinian revolution and recent shifts in metatheoretical assumptions within environmental and mainstream sociology and related disciplines. These parallels suggest that the social sciences are in the midst of a second Darwinian revolution. A fuller appreciation of this intellectual convergence can provide the first steps toward a new evolutionary environmental sociology.
The article provides a general overview of social sciences perspectives to analyze and theorize climate research, climate discourse, and climate policy. First, referring to the basic paradigm of sociology, it points out the feasible scope and necessary methodology of environmental sociology as a social science concerning the analysis of physical nature. Second, it illustrates this epistemological conception by few examples, summarizing main results of corresponding climate-related social science investigations dealing with the development dynamics of climate research, the role of scientific (climate impact) assessments in politics, varying features and changes of climate discourses, climate policy formation, and knowledge diffusion from climate science. The receptivity of climate discourse and climate policy to the results of problem-oriented climate research is strongly shaped and limited by its multifarious character as well as by their own (internal) logics. The article shows that social sciences contribute their specific (conceptual) competences to problem-oriented research by addressing climate change and corresponding adaptation and mitigation strategies.
Michael J. Lorr
Urban sociology and urban studies increasingly employ the idea of sustainability to explain, analyze, and critique city redevelopment. While the ambiguous and oxymoronic nature of sustainability goals has been extensively covered in the past, the current resurgence and popularity of the term “sustainability,“ especially under the aegis of “urban sustainability“ or “green“ cities, requires us to rethink the usefulness of sustainability as a concept for understanding and evaluating urban redevelopment. Confronting this challenge, this article reviews three of the most common theoretical approaches to sustainability, problematizes those approaches in the context of North American cities, and then provides a working definition of urban sustainability. Finally, the article recommends four plausible research hypotheses to guide future research on urban sustainability.
Environmental Sociology Meets Science and Technology Studies
Rolf Lidskog and Göran Sundqvist
an instrument for other powerful interests—constitutes the point of departure for this article. More specifically, we will follow the opposing perspectives of scientism and powerism in the field of environmental sociology. As we show later, this
Despite significant increases in social scientific studies of the environment, there has recently been a narrowing of focus. Increasingly, sociologists have looked at claims and counterclaims about specific environmental problems while missing the broader question of the cultural and social character of environmental concern itself. Only social anthropologists and some social theorists have continued to investigate this issue. In this paper it is argued that McKibben's work offers a useful starting point for examining the meaning of environmental worries since his writings offer a form of "phenomenology" of our concerns for nature. In this paper, this "phenomenology" is subject to a critical review and assessment.
Mark C.J. Stoddart
This article examines several ways in which animals are brought into skiing in British Columbia, Canada. Discourse analysis, interviews with skiers, and field observation are used to analyze how skiing joins together skiers, mountain landscapes, and non-human animals. First, animals enter ski industry discourse primarily as symbols of nature, or as species that ski corporations manage through habitat stewardship. Second, environmentalists recruit animals—particularly bears and mountain caribou—into a discourse of wildlife and wilderness values that are threatened by ski industry expansion. From this standpoint, skiing landscapes transform wildlife landscapes to meet the needs of a global tourist economy. Finally, skiers' talk about their own encounters with animals illustrates how embodied animals also shape skiers' experience of mountainous nature.
Andrew K. Jorgenson, Brett Clark, and Jennifer E. Givens
Drawing from emergent areas of sociological research and theorization, the authors consider the environmental impacts of militaries from a comparative-international perspective. The article begins with an overview of treadmill of production and treadmill of destruction theories, the latter of which highlights the expansionary tendencies and concomitant environmental consequences of militarization. This theoretical overview is followed by a narrative assessment of military growth and energy consumption, with a particular focus on the US military over the past century. Next, the authors detail the various environmental impacts associated with the growth and structure of national militaries, briefly discuss potential future research directions, and conclude by calling for scholars in future studies on society/nature relationships to seriously consider the environmental and ecological impacts of the world's militaries.
Environmental Activism, Moral Shocks, and the Coal Industry
Alison E. Adams, Thomas E. Shriver, and Landen Longest
in Libkovice and important emotions, symbols, and symbolism related to the campaign. We conclude our article with a discussion of the implications of our work on both environmental sociological research and social movement scholarship regarding
A Cross-National Panel Analysis of Unionization and Carbon Dioxide Emissions
Camila Huerta Alvarez, Julius Alexander McGee, and Richard York
In this article, we assess whether unionization of national workforces influences growth in national carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions per capita. Political-economic theories in environmental sociology propose that labor unions have the potential to affect environmental conditions. Yet, few studies have quantitatively assessed the influence of unionization on environmental outcomes using cross-national data. We estimate multilevel regression models using data on OECD member nations from 1970 to 2014. Results from our analysis indicate that unionization, measured as the percentage of workers who are union members, is negatively associated with CO2 emissions per capita, even when controlling for labor conditions. This finding suggests that unionization may promote environmental protection at the national level.
Where Do the Twain Meet?
C. S. A. (Kris) van Koppen
. “ A Problem in Theory .” Nature Human Behaviour 3 ( 3 ): 221 – 229 . 10.1038/s41562-018-0522-1 Van Koppen , C. S. A. 2017 . “ Incorporating Nature in Environmental Sociology: A Critique of Bhaskar and Latour, and a Proposal .” Environmental