Environmental Sociology explores various relations, processes, and reciprocal interactions between human society and their natural and built environments. The primary purpose of this master level course will be to identify critical societal factors underlying environmental change and to explore the role sociology can play in dealing with them. Although the course is oriented towards contemporary social theories (including Practice Theory, Rebound Effects, World Systems Theory, Risk and Ignorance, Resilience, Rational Choice, or Actor-Network-Theory) empirical fields to be discussed in class include green consumption, natural disasters, environmental justice issues, risk assessments, chemical regulations, human-animal-relations, contaminated sites, climate change, or renewable energy systems.
Each student who aims to get a grade (either via term paper or oral exam) will have to give a presentation (min. 30 minutes) alone or in a group of up to four. In case of a group presentation of three or four members, the presentation may last up to 45 minutes. The (informal) presentation should provide a summary of the assigned core reading (available at https://moodle.uni-jena.de), supplementary literature, a critical analysis, as well as further thoughts and discussion questions.
The group or the single student will lead the discussion. The class will begin with a brief introductory lecture by the professor on the day’s topic. The class will then be turned over to the presenter(s) who will further elaborate on the theme.
Presentations may be illustrated with ppt-slides, videos, and other media. Students leading the class discussion may also want to provide class members with a handout.
For further info, please consult the seminar’s teaching assistant (”Tutorin”) Monique Bechmann: firstname.lastname@example.org.
Term papers can be written in either English or German. Oral exams: ditto.
Recommended Introductory Books
Boström, Magnus and Debra J. Davidson, eds. (2018): Environment and Society: Concepts and Challenges. London: Palgrave Macmillan (available as e-book in THULB).
White, Damian; Alan Rudy, and Brian Gareau (2016): Environments, Nature and Social Theory: Towards a Critical Hybridity. London: Palgrave Macmillan.