Postgraduate Course: Sociology of the Environment and Risk (PGSP11231)
|School||School of Social and Political Science
||College||College of Humanities and Social Science
|Credit level (Normal year taken)||SCQF Level 11 (Postgraduate)
||Availability||Available to all students
|Summary||Sociology has traditionally paid little attention to environmental issues and ecological risks. Yet in the final decade of the twentieth century environmental groups such as Greenpeace, Friends of the Earth and the rest were claiming to have won the support of something like 8 per cent of the UK population, a membership far greater than that of the political parties. Elsewhere in Europe, 'Greens' were elected to parliament and the European Commission pressed ahead with environmental reforms, affecting such issues as air quality and drinking water standards. Media interest in the issue seemed unbounded. Environmentalism had become a major social issue. And it has stayed that way, in part thanks to anxieties over issues such as climate change and GM foodstuffs.
In the course, sociological perspectives on the relationship between human societies and their natural environments are explored via:
- discussion of 'pessimistic' and 'optimistic' views of that relationship
- sociological analyses of the rise of environmentalist and animal rights movements
- discussion of the relationship between gender and the environment
- analyses of the role played by science in environmental debates
- sociological analysis of 'carbon markets'
There will also be sessions on the processes underpinning perceptions of risk, and on the light that sociological analysis can throw on the extent of the proneness of technological systems to catastrophic accidents. Other relevant topics - such as Marxist perspectives on the environment and applying sociological analysis to 'greening' technology - will not be discussed in the lectures, but nevertheless can be explored in essays.
Postgraduates attend a two-hour session each week, joint with undergraduates, and in addition have their own 90-minute seminar each fortnight, in which it is possible to discuss in greater depth, e.g., the application of perspectives from science and technology studies to environmental issues.
Entry Requirements (not applicable to Visiting Students)
||Other requirements|| None
Information for Visiting Students
Course Delivery Information
|Not being delivered|
|Graduate Attributes and Skills
|Course organiser||Dr Claire Haggett
Tel: (0131 6)50 3916
|Course secretary||Miss Jade Birkin
Tel: (0131 6)51 1659