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DRPS : Course Catalogue : School of Social and Political Science : Sociology

Undergraduate Course: Sociology of the Environment and Risk (SCIL10024)

Course Outline
SchoolSchool of Social and Political Science CollegeCollege of Arts, Humanities and Social Sciences
Credit level (Normal year taken)SCQF Level 10 (Year 3 Undergraduate) AvailabilityAvailable to all students
SCQF Credits20 ECTS Credits10
SummaryThis course presents a sociological perspective on environmental knowledge, issues, campaigns and risks. We explore what 'the environment' is, how environmental quality is measured and understood, and how we perceive of environmental risks and problems.

We examine a number of case studies and examples - including energy, food, climate change and others - with key themes and questions running throughout: how are issues framed? Who is responsible for mitigating a risk, cleaning up after a disaster or saving the planet, and how is blame apportioned? What is the epistemological basis for knowledge claims about the environment; or, how do we know what we know about environmental problems and risks?
Course description Not entered
Entry Requirements (not applicable to Visiting Students)
Pre-requisites Co-requisites
Prohibited Combinations Other requirements None
Information for Visiting Students
Pre-requisitesVisiting students should have at least 3 Sociology or closely related courses at grade B or above (or be predicted to obtain this). We will only consider University/College level courses.
High Demand Course? Yes
Course Delivery Information
Academic year 2023/24, Available to all students (SV1) Quota:  45
Course Start Semester 2
Timetable Timetable
Learning and Teaching activities (Further Info) Total Hours: 200 ( Lecture Hours 20, Programme Level Learning and Teaching Hours 4, Directed Learning and Independent Learning Hours 176 )
Assessment (Further Info) Written Exam 0 %, Coursework 100 %, Practical Exam 0 %
Additional Information (Assessment) A short essay (25%) and a long essay (75%)
Feedback Not entered
No Exam Information
Learning Outcomes
On completion of this course, the student will be able to:
  1. Evaluate social constructionist theories about the environment, social problems, and risks
  2. Discuss of the role of the media in the construction of environmental issues and risks
  3. Consider how blame and responsibility for risks and problems are apportioned
  4. Analyse of the role played by science in environmental debates
  5. Evaluate sociological theories of environmental transitions and futures
Reading List
Beck, U. (1992) Risk Society: Towards a New Modernity, Chapter 1. (Short and Standard Loan)
Br├╝ggemann, M. and Engesser, S., 2017. Beyond false balance: How interpretive journalism shapes media coverage of climate change. Global Environmental Change, 42, pp.58-67
Burningham, K. and Cooper, G. (1999) Being constructive: social constructionism and the Environment, Sociology, 33: 297-316
Demeritt, D. (2006) Science studies, climate change, and the prospects for constructivist critique, Economy and Society, 35 (3): 453-479
Dixon, J. M., Hinde, S. J. and Banwell, C. L. (2006) Obesity, Convenience and 'Phood', British Food Journal, 108 (8): 634 - 645
Mol, A. and Spaargaren, G. (2000) Ecological Modernisation Theory in Debate: A Review, Environmental Politics, 9: 17-49 Shove, E. (2010) Beyond the ABC: Climate change policy and theories of social change, Environment and Planning A, 42 (6): 1273- 1285.
Winge, T. (2008) Green Is the New Black?: Celebrity Chic and the 'Green' Commodity Fetish, Fashion Theory, 12 (4): 511-524.
Additional Information
Graduate Attributes and Skills Not entered
KeywordsNot entered
Course organiserMiss Katherine Sugar
Course secretaryMs Alison Lazda
Tel: (0131 6)51 5572
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