The Social Study of Environmental Problems: Between Nature, Society and Politics
Full course description
Environmental problems such as chemical pollution, global warming, acid rain or species loss are both material effects of the human interaction with nature and nexuses of social practice and political contestation. This course probes the entanglements of nature, society, and politics through which the environment is formed, experienced, problematized, interpreted, and contested, and governed in different socio-cultural contexts. It helps students to develop a critical perspective on the dominant patterns of industrial production and consumption, and to ask how our societies can be made more sustainable. The course draws on insights from environmental history, environmental sociology, science and technology studies, sustainability studies, and recent debates on the "Anthropocene". Thereby, it seeks to complement the fact-oriented perspective of the natural sciences with a reflective understanding of the politics through which our knowledge (and non-knowledge) of the environment is formed. The course is structured in four sections. The first three each focus on one core domain of nature-society-politics: the risks of industrial production; biodiversity and land; global climate change. The final section reflects on how we can move from these insights towards a comprehensive understanding and transformative politics of the Anthropocene.
- To introduce students to central themes and concepts in the interdisciplinary social study of the environment.
- Enables students to engage in normative reflection and valuation of major socio-ecological challenges.
At least one 2000-level Social Science Course. OR HUM3049 Science, Power and the Construction of Facts/Science and Technology Studies 2: Science, Power and the Construction of Facts
It is an advantage if you have passed one of the following courses: HUM3049 Science, Power and the Construction of Facts, SSC1029 Sociological Perspectives; SSC2028 Classical Sociology/Classical Social Theory, SSC3038 Contemporary Sociological Theory/Contemporary Social Theory, SSC3056 Innovation Systems, Policy and Sustainability Transitions; SKI1004 and SKI1005 Research Methods I and II.
- E-reader with academic articles and book chapters from environmental sociology, political science, science and technology studies, human geography.