Environmental sociology

Environmental sociology is the study of interactions between societies and their natural environment. The field emphasizes the social factors that influence environmental resource management and cause environmental issues, the processes by which these environmental problems are socially constructed and defined as social issues, and societal responses to these problems.

Environmental sociology emerged as a subfield of sociology in the late 1970s in response to the emergence of the environmental movement in the 1960s.

Definition

Environmental sociology is typically defined as the sociological study of societal-environmental interactions, although this definition immediately presents the problem of integrating human cultures with the rest of the environment. Although the focus of the field is the relationship between society and environment in general, environmental sociologists typically place special emphasis on studying the social factors that cause environmental problems, the societal impacts of those problems, and efforts to solve the problems. In addition, considerable attention is paid to the social processes by which certain environmental conditions become socially defined as problems. Most research in environmental sociology examines contemporary societies.