Full course description
Environmental problems such as chemical pollution, global warming, acid rain or species loss are both natural processes as well as arenas of social and political contest. This course probes the social and political dimension of the environment in a European context. What is defined as an environmental problem and by whom? How are environmental problems and their possible solutions negotiated between different groups of actors, such as environmental movements, industrial interest groups and political regulators? What is the role of scientific experts in these conflicts? Do they provide objective evidence that can solve these problems more rationally or is science itself just another site of social negotiation and conflict? How can our societies be reorganised in order to make them environmentally friendly or "sustainable"? In addressing these issues the course will not only make student familiar with one of the most developed EU policy areas. It will also shed light on the multiple relations that exist between the environment and the broader cultural and social processes that characterise our contemporary European societies as well as the process of European unification.
At the end of this course students will be: • Able to understand, reflect on, and do research on the importance of the environment as a domain of European -both EU and domestic - policy and politics; • Able to understand, reflect on, and do research on understand how human-environment relations in Europe have been shaped throughout history and in different cultural contexts; • Able to understand, reflect on, and do research on environmental problems and the related political dynamics from a social-science perspective; • Acquainted with major conceptual and methodological positions within the fields of environmental history and environmental sociology; Able to critically access and contribute intellectually to practical initiatives of environmental sustainability promotion.
Baker, S. (2006). Sustainable development. London: Routlegde.
Beck, U. (1992). Risk society. London: Routledge.