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18. Ecology and Environment

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Chapter Summary

In recent decades natural scientists have documented a growing array of environmental problems such as deforestation, ozone depletion, ocean pollution and climate change that pose threats to the health of our global ecosystem. Such evidence has helped turn environmental problems into matters of global concern, both in policy circles and among citizens around the world. Sociologists have responded to this situation with a burst of comparative and cross-national research on the origins, impacts and potential mitigation of environmental problems, and this chapter provides a quick review of the major theoretical perspectives and methodological approaches employed in this work. The chapter summarizes seven relevant perspectives and corresponding empirical works: ecological modernization, treadmill of production, treadmill of destruction, ecologically unequal exchange, foreign direct investment and the environment, world polity and the environment, and structural human ecology and "STIRPAT".

Keywords: ecological modernization; ecologically unequal exchange; environmental sociology; foreign direct investment; human ecology; STIRPAT; treadmill of destruction; world polity



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