36 terms

Environmental Sociology

Environmental Sociology
interdisciplinary, relates physical/organic--->social/cultural
-the quality of human life is interwoven with the kinds and variety of stimuli within.
-It seeks the relationship between social and brute facts. (interdisciplinary)
-***when we tinker, the environment tinkers back
1.)human nature is shaped by external nature
2.)interchange b/w culture and environment; adapting the culture changes the landscape.
Sociology of the Environment
an approach that avoids letting the environment in.
-the focus is on society and their understanding of the environment.
Brute Facts
-natural facts that exist independent of human consent.
example: gravity, thunderstorm, atmospheric events
Book example: snail darter b/c legislation gave species protection
Social Facts
those that exist only by human agreement, beings collectively make them.
example: speed limit, money, laws against theft, philosophy
both brute and social fact
Radicalized risk
the present moment at which technical-scientific projects produce unintended risks that are incalculable(we don't have models to inform), delocalization (no longer in backyard), and non-compensable (how will I pay?).
example: we can't guarantee that a landfill will stay intact.
Industrial Society to Risk Society
1.) Coal: no safe way to mine. There is no such thing as clean coal. It is part of the Industrialized society.
2.) Oil: In between Industrial and Risk Society. Oil includes more chemicals that coal, you have to dig deep down to get it/bring up/process it.
-It creates more of a rick for workers, those living nearby and breathing it
-a bit riskier than coal.
-The most volatile of energy sources. can quickly result in events that are mind-boggling (contaminating cities with radioactive energy), travels quickly, and effects flora and fauna.
-Also available for all kinds of activity: bombs, terrorists, etc.
Climate Refugee
-such disasters result from ecological change/disruption
-includes increased drought, desertification, sea level rises, more frequent extreme weather happenings (tornadoes, etc.)
different from NATO refugees because they arnt leaving due to the country but because of the climate
example: Tuvalu-ocean is eroding away their houses
Forced Option
when one choice is not innately right or wrong, but we must choose a path
-light up the intensity of emotions making consensus more difficult to achieve.
White Swan Hypothesis
falsifiability-characteristic of a scientific hypothesis, does not mean something IS false, but instead IF IT IS false then someone can prove it.
How to Cap the BP Oil Spill
Junk shot, top hat, top kill

-"nature is the handmaiden of civilization"
culture (socialized nature)
The 3 disputes:
Conservancy, Siting, Exposure
-each are an increasingly pervasive feature of community life
Conservancy Dispute
:comes from when deciding how the land will be managed.
example: zoning for houses, places, bldgs.
In some areas, the government owns 80% of land, and did so to conserve rather than develop.
Siting Dispute
:when residents do not agree around a siting initiative.
-this can overlap the conservancy dispute
example: is a state government got control over federal land then it could plan to drill for oil or minerals, regardless of oppositions.
-example: fires in PA burning underground
Socialized body
*Frued: connection b/w body and environment, the body will never be completely in our control.
-breasts on men
-cancer cluster (CAMP LEJUENE)
Exposure Dispute
(Contamination dispute)
:when something gets into the environment that shouldn't be there. These are a threat to our existence.
example: Exxon Valdez Oil spill- the most damaging(ecologically and socially) of history of spills.
ex: BP oil spill- didn't have enough infrastructure to clean the spill, they paid $8,000 a day to people who helped clean the spill. (the Spillianairs) The toxins seeped into the community creating hostilities
The 3 types of Environments
1.) Built-human made structures (houses, business bldgs, hospitals, etc.)
2.) Modified- streets, parks, recreational areas, landscape areas
3.) Natural- air, water, soil, biosphere of life
A normal accident
:failure in one part may coincide with failure of an entirely different part (soda can causing Exxon/Valdez oil spill)
when life is a COMPLEX and TIGHTLY COUPLED system
-time dependent
-rigidly ordered process(sequence A must follow B)
-very little slack (precise quantities)
-there is only one path to successful outcome.
-accidents are inevitable---> therefor normal
Three types of History
Tradition, Harbinger, Invention
History as Tradition
:"tradere", to transmit or pass on something important or useful to another for safekeeping.
-always properties of communities or collectives
-plays a role in group identity
-maintains group cohesion
***you can't change tradition, nor swap for change
example: Orme Dome Project with tribes highlighting previous injustice that occurred time again. Project was abandoned.
example: lady who wouldnt leave her hut because it was passed on through tradition, even thought there was a nuclear facility built beside
History as Harbinger
:a person announces what is to come, history is predicted or could have been.
-the past anticipates the future
-use elements of a cultural toolbox( beliefs, songs, myths, folk wisdom, symbols, values)
-communities use these to deal with environmental disasters/ events.
example: Centralia 1906( town of valuable coal) blamed Irish on the fire, history was harbinger meaning it could have predicted what would have happened in this event.
History as Invention
:persuading that "the world is this way"
-a particular version of the past crafted for a specific person.
-used to guide present actions, or interpret existing circumstances
Example: Leon Bear Goshute Tribal Leader- used twisted logic to say that the Uranium was meant for the Native Americans (Nuclear Waste) - used "Indian Spirtual Rationale" (was really a bunch of BS.)
the important dimension of perception of resistance or unwillingness of organizations and officials to act what best on their behalf. best interests arnt at heart anymore
-3 types: Genuine, Structural, Equivocal
Genuine recreancy
-when citizens perceptions of recreancy are joined with strong empirical evidence that organizations and officials intentionally acted in recreant manner
-citizens accusations are actually correct
-the way in which power impacts decision, environments, and human wellbeing
****Elites benefit from existing social arrangements
Example: Federal response to huricane Katrina because societies are run by elites who structure and control cultural beliefs and values, public policy, legal system to their own advantage (could have built a better levy system but were shot down)
Environmental Conflicts
disputes about knowing, about who can know, and which information is valid and reliable
Uncertainty of Knowledge: 2 types of Scientific Error
1.) Accepting a hypothesis that is later shown to be wrong
2.) Reject a hypothesis that is later shown to be right (null hypothesis)

-type 2 is more common
-the only true knowledge results when a notion is falsified
the uncertainty principle
the measurement of position disturbs a particle's momentum, vice versa. (the observers effect)
Structural Recreancy
local residents and agency personnel often end up speaking past each other, each viewing the conflict in a particular way, ignorant of concerns.
**Communities vs. Bureaucracies
community-holistic fields of living
bureaucracy- "path dependent" narrow, goal-oriented, in interest of operation
Equivocal recreancy
local residents make accusations but their is no hard evidence of recreancy
example: Leatherback turtle excluder device.
-residents try to determine liable evidence(good or bad faith)
-there are no facts outside of language
Environmental controversies almost are always based on factual disputes
to make assumptions
Social Capital
(Bowling Along) America is less involved in their communities
env racism
-dumping near minority sites
Oil sands
bitamin(13 toxic chemicals)