Environment and Social Theory / Edition 2

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While the environment has been a perennial theme in human thought, the environment and how humans value, use and think about it has become an increasingly central and important aspect of recent social theory. It has become clear that the present generation is faced with a series of unique environmental dilemmas, largely unprecedented in human history. Environment and Social Theory outlines the complex interlinking of the environment, nature and social theory from ancient and pre-modern thinking to contemporary social theorising. It explores the essentially contested character of the environment and nature within social theory, and draws attention to the need for critical analysis whenever the term 'nature' and 'environment' are used in debate and argument. Drawing on a broad understanding of social theory, the book examines the ways major religions such as Judaeo-Christianity have and continue to conceptualise the environment as well as analysing the way the nonhuman environment plays important roles in Western thinkers such as Rousseau, Malthus, Marx, Darwin, Mill to Freud, Horkheimer and the Frankfurt School. It also discusses major contemporary thinkers such as Jurgen Habermas, Anthony Giddens, Richard Dawkins and Jared Diamond, and the controversy around Bjorn Lomborg's The Skeptical Environmentalist. The book also explores the relationship between gender and the environment, postmodernism and risk society schools of thought, and the dominance of orthodox economic thinking (which we ought to view as an ideology) in contemporary social theorising about the environment. It concludes with an argument for an explicitly interdisciplinary green social theoretical approach whichcombines insights from the natural sciences such as evolutionary biology, physics and ecology with social scientific knowledge drawn from social, political and ethical theories and ideas. Written in an engaging and accessible manner, Environment and Social Theory provides the student with an indispensable guide to the way in which the environment and social theory relate to one another.

About the Author:
John Barry is Reader in Politics at Queen's University, Belfast

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Editorial Reviews

Barry (politics, the University of Keele) introduces ways in which the environment has been used and abused, constructed and contested within social theory. He begins with an overview of the place of environment within the history of social theory, then examines the value and role of environment in classical 19th-century theory. Moving on to the 20th century, he looks at gender, contemporary social theory, postmodern approaches to the environment, and the possibility of a green social theory. Includes numerous b&w historical and contemporary illustrations and political cartoons. Annotation c. Book News, Inc., Portland, OR (booknews.com)
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Product Details

Table of Contents

Introduction: The Environment and Social Theory 1. Nature, Environment and Social Theory 2. The Role of the Environment Historically within Social Theory 3. The Uses of Nature and the Non-Human World in Social Theory: Pre-Enlightenment and Enlightenment Accounts 4. Twentieth-Century Social Theory and the Non-Human World 5. Right-Wing Reactions to the Environment and Environmental Politics 6. Left-Wing Reactions to the Environment and Environmental Politics 7. Gender, the Non-Human World and Social Thought 8. The Environment and Economic Thought 9. Risk, Environment and Postmodernism 10. Ecology, Biology and Social Theory 11. Greening Social Theory

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