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Sustainability 2016, 8(5), 437; doi:10.3390/su8050437

Sustainability and Environmental Sociology: Putting the Economy in its Place and Moving Toward an Integrative Socio-Ecology

1
Department of Sociology and Anthropology, North Carolina State University, Raleigh, NC 27695, USA
2
Department of Sociology, University of Utah, Salt Lake City, UT 84112, USA
3
Department of Sociology, Fort Lewis College, Durango, CO 81301, USA
*
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Academic Editors: Md Saidul Islam and Marc A. Rosen
Received: 22 February 2016 / Revised: 8 April 2016 / Accepted: 27 April 2016 / Published: 3 May 2016
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Sustainability through the Lens of Environmental Sociology)
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Abstract

The vague, yet undoubtedly desirable, notion of sustainability has been discussed and debated by many natural and social scientists. We argue that mainstream conceptions of sustainability, and the related concept of sustainable development, are mired in a “pre-analytic vision” that naturalizes capitalist social relations, closes off important questions regarding economic growth, and thus limits the potential for an integrative socio-ecological analysis. Theoretical and empirical research within environmental sociology provides key insights to overcome the aforementioned problems, whereby the social, historical, and environmental relationships associated with the tendencies and qualities of the dominant economic system are analyzed. We highlight how several environmental sociology perspectives—such as human ecology, the treadmill of production, and metabolic analysis—can serve as the basis for a more integrative socio-ecological conception and can help advance the field of sustainability science. View Full-Text
Keywords: economic development; growth; social theory; human ecology; treadmill of production; metabolic rift economic development; growth; social theory; human ecology; treadmill of production; metabolic rift
This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited. (CC BY 4.0).

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MDPI and ACS Style

Longo, S.B.; Clark, B.; Shriver, T.E.; Clausen, R. Sustainability and Environmental Sociology: Putting the Economy in its Place and Moving Toward an Integrative Socio-Ecology. Sustainability 2016, 8, 437.

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