Chapter 16 Notes

Chapter 16 Notes - SOC101Y1

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Toward Environmental sociology sociology's interest in environment only developed recently – 3 decades ago. Reason for the earlier neglect has several reasons: (1) earlier 20 th century sociologists had a different meaning of environment. Emile Durkheim did not give much importance to the biological and physical factors influencing human affairs, while Durkheim increased the importance of social facts [norms, groups, institutions] (2) sociologists' own view of technology, natural resources, and human progress. Human paradigm are the ideas of evolving social progress, increasing prosperity/success & material comfort, and class mobility for all segments of society. Early 1970s – increased societal attention was given to urban decay, pollution, overpopulation, resource shortages. Dunlap and Catton distinguished between a “sociology of environmental issues” and “environmental sociology”. Sociology of environmental issues – concerned with environmentally related phenomena [resource management] Environmental sociology – the physical environment as a factor that may influence / be influenced by social behaviour These 2 points suggest that environment can function as a dependent or independent variable – a background, cause, or effect Today, environmental sociology is studied – this has (+) and (-) effects: (+) - has propelled sociological inquiry into new areas such as public opposition against toxic wastes. (-) - has made it difficult to develop one work with strong foundations. The study has multiple cores, each having a different position. Environmental value conflict value governed by the North American life [activism, achievement, progress, materialism] – environment is something to be actively used and exploited. Environmentalists value – less manipulative approach to nature Stephen Cotgrave – indicated differences between the population and environmentalists: he made 2 conflicting paradigms [our view of world] – dominant paradigm and alternative environmental paradigm Dominant paradigm – This view is accepted by all major institutions – it has 2 core values: (1) the moral of material- wealth creation – foreign investment,expanding economy, job (2) moral conviction that humans have the right to dominate nature – progress is made by increasing civilization of jungles, desserts - “tamed” nature is brought to “virgin” lands. Alternative environmental paradigm – environmentalists give priority to non-material values, such as social relationships and community, human skills. They have little confidence in science. They claim that resources are limited and must be conserved. “Small is beautiful”, in this view, society should adopt small-scale, decentralized economic and political structured that are in harmony with nature. [Table 16.1 pg 419] Sustainable development – attempt to bridge the differences
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This note was uploaded on 04/19/2010 for the course SOC 101 taught by Professor Brym during the Spring '10 term at Algonquin College.

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Chapter 16 Notes - SOC101Y1

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