1st Edition

Sociology Saves the Planet An Introduction to Socioecological Thinking and Practice

By Thomas Macias Copyright 2022
    194 Pages
    by Routledge

    194 Pages
    by Routledge

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    Highlighting how the environment and society are intrinsically linked, this book argues that environmental concerns need to be treated as a core concept in the study of sociology.

    Given its focus on inequality and the constituent elements of the social world, sociology has often been accused of negligence regarding the urgency of the world’s environmental crisis. Sociology Saves the Planet corrects this mis-perception by integrating the theme of environment and society to highlight the intrinsic value a sociological perspective brings to our understanding of the current ecological crisis. The author first draws out the origins of sociology in the social and ecological transformations of the industrial revolution. In accounting for the social upheavals of the 19th century, Emile Durkheim, Karl Marx, and Max Weber all provided key insights into the changing nature of human organization and exploitation of the natural world. Second, readers will explore sociological perspectives developed since that time, grounded in evidence-based research, which highlight the inextricable connection between environment and society. Special attention is devoted to the dual role of people as producers and consumers in the modern context. Lastly, this book examines the significance of major categories of social difference regarding the current environmental crisis. In that regard the question of environmental justice is paramount, illuminating both the disproportionate benefit of natural resource exploitation to those countries and individuals with higher socioeconomic status, and the greater exposure to environmental hazard among those with less. Averting global calamity requires we recognize the unequal social impacts of the environmental crisis while valorizing inclusivity and the diversity of human experience in our search for solutions.

    Designed for introductory courses, this book is essential reading for sociology students and will be of interest to students and academics studying environment and sustainability more broadly.

    1. The Origins of a Socioecological Imagination

    2. Efficient, Rational Plans and Unintended Socioecological Outcomes

    3. The Nature of Nurture: A Lifetime of Socialization

    4. Local Agriculture and the Multiplex Origins of Socioecological Change

    5. Fetish, Rifts and Farce: Alienation from what we Make, Buy and Toss

    6. Homophily and The Social Strictures of an Unequal Society

    7. Social and Environmental Justice in a Diverse Society

    8. Searching for Trust in a Risk-riddled Society

    9. Unstable Structures and the Process of Socioecological Change

    10. Strategies for Restructuring an Unsustainable Society

    11. Socioecological Solutions from the Inside Out


    Thomas Macias is a Professor of Sociology at the University of Vermont, USA. He is the author of Mestizo in America: Generations of Mexican Ethnicity in the Suburban Southwest (2006).