ENP-32806 Sociological Perspectives on Environmental Change


Credits 6.00

Teaching methodContact hours
Group work3
Independent study
Course coordinator(s)dr. ir. PJM Oosterveer
Lecturer(s)dr. ir. PJM Oosterveer
prof. dr. ir. G Spaargaren
prof. dr. SR Bush
Examiner(s)dr. ir. PJM Oosterveer
prof. dr. ir. G Spaargaren

Language of instruction:


Mandatory knowledge:

- performance during the exam-workshop (50%);
- a set of five summary-papers (25%);
- a script (25%).
Each component needs a minimum mark of 5.5 to pass.

Assumed knowledge on:

Environmental Economics and Policy; International Environmental Policy; Introduction Sociology.


The central focus of this course is on providing conceptual tools for analysing environmental problems from a social-science perspective. These tools are essential in understanding key causes of current environmental problems and in reviewing the different ways in which (groups within) society try to solve these problems. In this course different social science perspectives are introduced as well as the ways in which they address environmental issues. Comparing these different perspectives will enhance the understanding of the complexity involved in the way society can handle environmental problems as well as increase the student's capacity to analyse (the background of) different environmental policy options.

Learning outcomes:

After successful completion of this course students are expected to be able to:
- appraise the key social-science perspectives on environmental change, and in particular ecological modernisation;
- explain their historical and conceptual background and their current relevance;
- analyse actual environmental issues and trends with the help of these key social science perspectives;
- critically assess one social science perspective on environmental change as presented in a scientific publication.


The course will consist of 12 introductory lectures and workshops where specific literature will be discussed.
Students will make a summary of the literature as well as a written statement, which must be handed in before the workshop starts.
Besides students are asked to prepare an individual paper directly related to the social theories discussed during the lectures and the workshops. In the last session they will present this paper.



A course outline will be available.

Restricted Optional for: MMEManagement, Economics and Consumer StudiesMScC: Economics, Environment and Governance5MO
MESEnvironmental SciencesMSc5MO
MIDInternational Development StudiesMScA: Sociology of Development5MO