How Did Environment Call Development Pathways out?

Thursday, 14 July 2016: 09:00-10:30
Location: Hörsaal I (Neues Institutsgebäude (NIG))
RC09 Social Transformations and Sociology of Development (host committee)
RC24 Environment and Society

Language: English

Development was viewed as a socioeconomic and political process after WWII based on a trickle-down effect whereby all countries would benefit from the development of industrialized countries. This viewpoint was challenged in the 1970s by authors who noted that it instead leads to underdevelopment elsewhere on the planet! Environmental issues highlighted by the Club of Rome in terms of resource limitations, as well as conservation issues (IUCN “World Conservation Strategy”, 1980) also cast doubt on these views. In 1983 the UN set up the World Commission on Environment and Development to offer an alternative, Ecodevelopment – deemed too radical – giving rise to the “Our Common Future” report (1987), which outlined the sustainable development concept. 
Social equity is still a major tenet of this concept, without questioning the ideology of growth. But it is thus addressed differently, the mainstreaming of the environmental issue and ensuing resource scarcities having shifted the situation. Different environmental aspects (climate, biodiversity, water and land degradation) and the procedures implemented to manage them have thus become sociological research topics. Nowadays can social relationships be considered while overlooking those that human societies have with their environment and its dynamics and the procedures they have implemented to regulate them? 
Ways that contemporary sociology deals with these issues could be reviewed in this session. Have they given rise to new fields of research, triggered fresh debates or questioned established theoretical frameworks? How does sociology provide a new slant on development issues in a globalized world whose biophysical sustainability is threatened?
Session Organizer:
Bernard HUBERT, Ecole des Hautes Études en Sciences Sociales, France
The Ecological Transformation of Modern Societies
Ulrike M.M. SCHUERKENS, Ecole des Hautes Études en Sciences Sociales, France
Deconstructing Austrian Identities: Components of the Bipolar System.
Ekaterina HOLLER, Institute of Ethnology and Anthropology, Russian Academy of Sciences, Russia