300 pages, 3 figs
Analyses the roles of capitalism, state socialism and industrialism in generating environmental degradation, and reviews other relationships between political economy and environmental issues.
This book is a most welcome addition to the contemporary discussion of environmental issues in the social sciences. As a critical evaluation and reconstruction of its four chosen theorists, it could hardly be bettered. It is clear, rigorous, intellectually challenging and politically serious ... a fine and lasting achievement. Ted Benton, University of Essex "Offers a welcome and timely survey of those thinkers - Andre Gorz, Anthony Giddens, Jurgen Habermas, Ulrich Beck - who have tried to move beyond the exploded belief in the "conquest" of nature and unlimited growth." New Statesman and Society "David Goldblatt has done us the large favour of starting from the other end of the story. Rather than using environmentalism to shore up a set of conclusions arrived at elsewhere, he starts with the two main questions posed by environmentalism - the structural origins of environmental degradation and the conditions under which environmental movements might ameliorate or prevent that degradation - and examines the work of four contemporary social theorists to see what answers they provide. Goldblatt's own analysis is thoughtful, well argued and has a painful honesty to it; even when it appears that conclusions do not please him, he follows them through to the end. In this thoughtful book, David Goldblatt has helped us to move towards some answers." Times Literary Supplement "An academically thorough and at the same time readable assessment of relevant writings of Anthony Giddens, Andre Gorz, J%uuml;rgen Habermas and Ulrich Beck. The discussions of individual theorists would work well as stand-alone chapters, and would provide students with very good starting points in each case ... ideal for student reading lists on environment-related social science courses." Environmental Values "Highly engaging review of current developments in social theory ... this book is a testimony to the vigour and creativity of the discipline's response to the environmental challenge. His writing is refreshingly clear and points are made cogently and logically." International Journal of Environmental Studies "The conclusion is the most interesting chapter, because in it Goldblatt brings together his own arguments." Environment and Planning 'David Goldblatt's book is a welcome and scholarly contribution to a growing socialist literature in what may broadly be termed political ecology ... Goldblatt's main acheivement ... is to draw together the disparate conceptual apparatus of modern European social theory and then to show how it provides the necessary foundation for a critical political ecology.' Capital and Class 'Social theorists may need to head in such directions given the place that Goldblatt, carefully and convincingly, leads us to.' Urban Studies
Preface. Introduction: Social Theory, Environmental Degradation and Environmental Politics. 1. Capitalism, Industrialism and the Transformation of Nature: Anthony Giddens. 2. Urbanism, Globalization and Environmental Politics: Anthony Giddens. 3. The Political Ecology of Capitalism: Andre Gorz. 4. Social and Cultural Origins of Environmental Movements: Jurgen Habermas. 5. The Sociology of Risk: Ulrich Beck. Conclusion: Social Theory, Socialism and the Environment. List of Abbreviations. Notes. Bibliography. Index.
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David Goldblatt is a lecturer in the Faculty of Social Sciences, at the Open University.