ENP-32806 Sociological Perspectives on Environmental Change


Credits 6.00

Teaching methodContact hours
Group work3
Independent study0
Course coordinator(s)dr. ir. PJM Oosterveer
Lecturer(s)dr. ir. PJM Oosterveer
prof. dr. ir. G Spaargaren
prof. dr. SR Bush
Examiner(s)prof. dr. ir. G Spaargaren
dr. ir. PJM Oosterveer

Language of instruction:


Assumed knowledge on:

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


The central focus of this course is on providing conceptual and methodological tools for analysing environmental problems from a social-science perspective. These tools are essential in studying the key causes of contemporary 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 and the research methods they apply. 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) and research 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;
- 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;
- identify different methodological tools applied in environmental sociology and understand how they should be applied;
- critically assess one social science perspective on environmental change as presented in scientific publications.


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 a (small) group paper directly related to the social theories discussed during the lectures and the workshops and to a concrete environmental problem. In the last session they will present this paper and defend it against critical comments.


assessment of achieving the learning outcomes will be based on:
- the paper (25%);
- the summaries (25%);
- the (small) group paper and their defense in public (50%);
Each component requires a 5.0 to pass.


A course outline will be available.

Restricted Optional for: MIDInternational Development StudiesMScA: Sociology of Development5MO