Can sociology help us to tackle environmental problems? What cansociology tell us about the nature of the environment and about theorigins and consequences of environmental risks, hazards andchange? In this important new book Alan Irwin maps out thisemerging field of knowledge, teaching and research. He reviews thekey sociological debates in the field and sets out a new frameworkfor analysis and practice. Among the themes examined are constructivism and realism,sustainable development and theories of the risk society. Readersare also introduced to communities at risk, institutionalregulation and the environmental consequences of technology.Particular topics for discussion include genetically modifiedorganisms, nuclear power, pesticide safety and the local hazards ofthe chemical industry. Rather than maintaining a fixed boundarybetween nature and society, Irwin highlights the hybrid characterof environmental issues and emphasizes the role of social andcultural factors within environmental policy.Combining theoretical discussion and case-studies with asensitivity to the concerns of environmental policy and practice,Sociology and the Environment provides an excellent introduction toan expanding and immensely important field. It will be a valuabletext for students and scholars in sociology, geography,environmental studies and related disciplines.
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About the Author
Alan Irwin is Professor of Sociology at Brunel University
Table of Contents
Chapter 1: Sustainability as Social Challenge.
Chapter 2: The Risk Society Thesis: The End of the World as WeKnow It?.
Chapter 3: Science and the Social Construction of EnvironmentalThreat.
Chapter 4: Risks in Context: The Local Construction ofEnvironmental Issues.
Chapter 5: Institutional Judgements and Contested Decisions: TheGovernance of Environmental Problems.
Chapter 6: Kamikazes and Chromosomes: Sociological Perspectiveson Technology.
Chapter 7: Society, Nature, Knowledge: Co-constructing theSocial and the Natural.