Curriculum Guideline

Society and Environment

Effective Date:
Course Code
SOCI 2270
Society and Environment
Humanities & Social Sciences
Start Date
End Term
Not Specified
Semester Length
Max Class Size
Contact Hours
Lecture: 4 hrs. per week / semester
Method Of Instruction
Methods Of Instruction

The course will employ a variety of instructional methods to accomplish its objectives, including some of the following:  lectures, seminar presentations, audio-visual materials including video, 16mm film, etc., small group discussions, research projects, practical conditioning demonstrations and research papers.

Course Description
This course examines the relations between human society and the natural environment. It investigates the ways in which institutions shape and are shaped by natural environments. The ways in which culture, social organization, and social inequality are related to natural environments will be discussed. A range of sociological perspectives will be used to explore contemporary concerns of sustainability, distributive justice and environmental crisis.
Course Content


  1. Introduction
    • Sociology of the environment: Foundations
    • Theoretical perspectives 
    • Functionalism and ecological perspectives
    • Marxism and Conflict Theory
    • Contemporary theorizing: EcoFeminism
  2. Culture, Ideology and Environment
    • Culture: Cross-cultural perspectives of natural environment Socialization
    • Ideology: Ideological perspectives of environmental degradation
    • The Green Movement
  3. Industrialization, Technological Innovation and Economics
    • Material analyses of the human/environmental interface: production, distribution, corruption
    • Industrialization and the impact on the natural environment
    • Post-industrial society and continuing degradation
    • "Green" economics
    • Capitalism, global economies, sustainable development
  4. Social Inequality and the Environment
    • Class and environment
    • Gender and environment
    • Labour and environment
    • Ethnicity and environment
    • Regionalism and environment
    • Global inequality:  North-South issues and the Post-Rio Agenda
    • Distributive justice and the natural environment
  5. Environments and Demographics
    • Human ecology:  classical and contemporary
    • Urban and rural sociology
    • Population issues
  6. Sociology in Environmental Applications
    • Science, ethics, values and decision-making
    • Sociology in resource management
    • Social impact studies
    • Environmental impact assessment
    • Regulatory regimes:  Compliance, enforcement and social control
  7. Conclusions
    • The Global Picture and Survival


Learning Outcomes

At the conclusion of the course the successful student will be able to:

  1. Understand sociology as a discipline with regards to its perceptions and analysis of the natural environment, including both classical and contemporary perspectives.
  2. Discuss cultural linkages, both material and non-material,  between humans and natural environment (e.g sustenance, shelter, consumption, religion and beliefs); compare cross-cultural perceptions of the natural environment.)
  3. Describe the Green Movement and changing social perceptions of the environment as ideological forces.
  4. Trace the impact of technological and economic development on human relations with the environment.
  5. Discuss social inequalities in terms of their impact on human/environmental relations, with particular reference to issues of class, gender, age, ethnicity, and regionalism.
  6. Review the development of human ecology with reference to both urban and rural environments; understand the implications of demographics for natural and social environments.
  7. Discuss issues of development and environment, especially with reference to international and gender dimensions of development.
  8. Review the potential of political and administrative processes for environmental regulation and protection, and understand their limitations.      
  9. Identify and understand the potential of sociology to contribute to applied environmental studies, such as social and environmental impact assessments.                                                                                
  10. Demonstrate an understanding of principle social factors in environmental degradation and discuss possible solutions to impending environmental cases.

Means of Assessment

Evaluation will be based on course objectives and will be carried out in accordance with Douglas College policy. The instructor will provide a written course outline with specific criteria during the first week of classes.

An example of a possible evaluation scheme would be:

Three Examinations  40%
Term Paper  20%
Oral Presentation  10%
Seminar Participation and Group Work  10%
Final Exam  20%
Total 100%
Textbook Materials

Texts will be updated periodically. Typical examples are:

  • Dickens, P.  (1992)  Society and Nature:  Towards a Green Social Theory.  Philadelphia:  Temple University Press.


SOCI 1125 or SOCI 1145 or SOCI 1155 or OLD SOCI 135