SOC 320. Environmental Sociology

Examines the dynamics of the “natural environment” and society. Emphasis on exploring environmental crises, theoretical perspectives on nature, climate and sustainability.

This course will introduce you to some of the basic theories of social ecological relations and the debates among their respective adherents.  You will learn about the sub-discipline of environmental sociology, a field of inquiry that focuses on the relationship between humans and the biophysical environment.  We will examine the major theoretical perspectives within environmental sociology, addressing the complex questions of how societies come to understand, confront, and cope with both the sources and the manifestations of ecological problems.  The course is structured around assessing the basic principles and positions of these modern theories on the environment, and their ability to effectively address the environmental crisis.  It will focus on understanding the social and ecological implications of putting these theories into practice, evaluating the ways in which they can contribute to a more ecologically sensitive relationship to the environment.  Throughout the course you will be encouraged to locate yourself in this debate, and form your own conclusions.


John Bellamy Foster. 2005. The Vulnerable Planet.  Monthly Review.
David Naguib Pellow. 2007. Resisting Global Toxics: Transnational Movements for Environmental Justice.  MIT Press.
Robert L. Thayer. 2003. Lifeplace: Bioregional Thought & Practice. University of California Press.
Kenneth A. Gould & Tammy L. Lewis. 2014. Twenty Lessons in Environmental Sociology. Oxford University Press.