Society and Nature: Towards a Green Social Theory
In this wide-ranging effort to theorize about the relationships between society and nature, Peter Dickens attempts to reconstruct social theory in a way that enables it to speak to contemporary environmental issues. After reviewing existing sociological traditions, he draws on the early work of Karl Marx to suggest that processes and relations in the workplace are the main source of people's separation from nature. In addition, people's understanding of "nature" tends to mirror their experience of the social world. Redefining the work of Anthony Giddens in an ecological direction, Dickens analyzes developments in biological thinking that seem consistent with this approach. He considers the role of culture, and he critiques the contemporary "deep green" and "deep ecology" movements. Focusing on the alienation of human begins from the natural world and the place of nature in their "deep mental structures," the author works in part from a Marxist perspective but draws a wide variety of social psychological, and biological theories into the discussion. Society and Nature not only addresses a central debate in contemporary social science regarding this interrelationship but also responds to the intellectual challenge presented by natural scientific concepts of environmental problems that oversimplify or ignore their political or social relational dimensions. Author note: Peter Dickens is Senior Lecturer in Urban Studies and Social Policy at the University of Sussex (UK) and the author of Urban Sociology: Society, Locality and Human Nature.
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abstract adapt alienation analogy analysis animals approach argues argument become Benton Bhaskar biologically inherited biologists capacities capitalism central chapter concepts concerned contemporary environmental context critical realism culture Darwin deep ecology deep green developed dialectical distinct early ecological ecologists emphasis envisaged ethology evolution evolutionary evolved example fetishisation Furthermore gemeinschaft genes genetic Giddens Green Political hand Hemel Hempstead human societies human species ibid inclusive fitness individuals inherited inorganic nature interaction levels living London Marx and Engels Marx's Marxism Mass Observation mechanisms mental methodological individualism modern natural and social natural environment natural sciences natural selection natural world needs neo-Darwinism neo-liberal notion op.cit organised organism and environment paradigm particular people's physical political potentials powers problem realised recognise relationships reproduce seen sense social and natural Social Darwinism social relations social sciences social theory social world sociobiology sociology species-being Spencer structures suggests survival tendencies themes Tonnies underlying understanding Yanomami