Among the themes examined are constructivism and realism, sustainable development and theories of the risk society. Readers are also introduced to communities at risk, institutional regulation and the environmental consequences of technology. Particular topics for discussion include genetically modified organisms, nuclear power, pesticide safety and the local hazards of the chemical industry. Rather than maintaining a fixed boundary between nature and society, Irwin highlights the hybrid character of environmental issues and emphasizes the role of social and cultural factors within environmental policy.
Combining theoretical discussion and case-studies with a sensitivity to the concerns of environmental policy and practice, Sociology and the Environment provides an excellent introduction to an expanding and immensely important field. It will be a valuable text for students and scholars in sociology, geography, environmental studies and related disciplines.
Chapter 1: Sustainability as Social Challenge.
Chapter 2: The Risk Society Thesis: The End of the World as We Know It?.
Chapter 3: Science and the Social Construction of Environmental Threat.
Chapter 4: Risks in Context: The Local Construction of Environmental Issues.
Chapter 5: Institutional Judgements and Contested Decisions: The Governance of Environmental Problems.
Chapter 6: Kamikazes and Chromosomes: Sociological Perspectives on Technology.
Chapter 7: Society, Nature, Knowledge: Co-constructing the Social and the Natural.