Logo UAB

Environmental Sociology

Code: 106752 ECTS Credits: 6
Degree Type Year Semester
2504604 Environmental Sciences FB 1 1


Guillermo Sala Lorda

Teaching groups languages

You can check it through this link. To consult the language you will need to enter the CODE of the subject. Please note that this information is provisional until 30 November 2023.


No prerequisits.

Objectives and Contextualisation

The basic objective of this subject is to provide adequate knowledge of the main tools and concepts that have been formulated in the social sciences for the study of the environment and the relationships between humans 
and the environment.
The fact that it is a first-year subject means that it has an introductory vocation and, therefore, the topics will focus on a small volume of basic but essential concepts to continue further training. Specifically, the history and recent evolution of environmentalist social movements will be discussed. The main theoretical models will be introduced to explain the relationships between environment and society,
with special emphasis on the analysis of socio-environmental conflicts.
An analysis will be made of the different study perspectives of the social perception of risk and its implications in political, social and cultural terms.

Learning Outcomes

  • CM09 (Competence) Identify aspects related to ethical responsibility and respect for fundamental rights and obligations, diversity and democratic values throughout the development of environmental projects.
  • CM10 (Competence) Identify in the field of the environment the origin of potential inequalities based on sex/gender.
  • CM11 (Competence) Work independently when tackling problems and practical sociological cases from the environmental field.
  • CM12 (Competence) Transmit the basic sociological information associated with an environmental problem to members of the general public appropriately.
  • KM16 (Knowledge) Identify the basic relationship between the principles and foundations of Sociology and environmental processes.
  • KM17 (Knowledge) Recognise the history and recent evolution of environmental movements.
  • KM18 (Knowledge) Recognise the impact of human activities and behaviour on the environment.
  • KM19 (Knowledge) Identify the main sociological dimensions of a global world.
  • SM17 (Skill) Collect and analyse sociological data and observations related to the historical evolution of the relationships between nature, society (social theories and the environment) and culture.
  • SM18 (Skill) Express yourself using language in line with fundamental sociological information, clearly, explicitly and briefly.


1. Nature / society relations
											The Society-Nature duality: an anthropological perspective
											The economic system and natural 'resources'
											The dialogue between the Social Sciences and the Natural Sciences
											Environmental vectors: water, energy, waste, food, biodiversity, territory and urban planning, air quality and climate change (these vectors will also appear in the other sections of the program)
											2. Contemporary environmental concerns
											Origins and evolution. Different theoretical interpretations (causes based on technology, economics, politics, institutions, social constructionism, etc.).
											Ecological explanations: Chicago School (Park, Burgess, etc.); Model POET (Duncan); HEP-NEP model (Catton & Dunlap), etc.
											Explanations from political economy: Model Wheel of production (Schnaiberg); Second contradiction of capitalism (O'Connor); Popular environmentalism (Martínez-Alier); Society of Risk (Beck), etc.
											From the Ecological Modernization debate (Mol and Spargaaren) and the alternatives: degrowth (Kallis, D'Alisa), transition initiatives (Del Río, Hobkins), collapse (Riechmann, Turiel), ecosocialism (Sempere), etc.
											Ecofeminisms and queer ecology.
											3. Environmental and technological risks
											Concept of risk and its social and political implications. The social dimensions of risk.
											Social perception of environmental and technological risks: Different perspectives (psychometric, cultural, institutional, etc.).
											Environmental conflicts: Models for analyzing the structure of conflicts.
											4. Social movements and environment
											The origins of socio-environmental mobilization: Conservationism and worker environmentalism.
											The increase (of the perception) of environmental risks and the new environmentalism (or political environmentalism).
											Other social movements (naturism, etc.) and contemporary evolution (platforms, etc.). The new climate movements.
											5. Environmental policies
											Ecological modernization and sustainable development
											Environmental governance and the precautionary principle
											Decline and transitions towards sustainability
											The ecosocial transition from the climate emergency
											6. Transversal issues
											Sociology of health
											Urban and territorial sociology
											Sociology of energy
											Sociology of the agri-food system
											Sociology of climate change
											Sociology of waste


The teaching staff will present an exposition of the main theoretical concepts and proposals in each study unit, as well as explaining specific cases that exemplify the different concepts studied. 
It is intended to encourage debate/discussion on the topics covered.

Annotation: Within the schedule set by the centre or degree programme, 15 minutes of one class will be reserved for students to evaluate their lecturers and their courses or modules through questionnaires.


Title Hours ECTS Learning Outcomes
Type: Directed      
Classroom problems 12 0.48 CM09, CM10, CM11, KM18, KM19, SM17, SM18, CM09
Theoretical lessons 38 1.52 CM09, CM10, CM12, KM16, KM17, KM18, KM19, SM17, SM18, CM09
Type: Supervised      
Tutorials 12 0.48 CM11, CM12, SM17, SM18, CM11
Type: Autonomous      
Problem solving 23 0.92 CM11, CM12, SM18, CM11
Studying 65 2.6 CM09, CM10, KM16, KM17, KM18, KM19, SM17, CM09


The evaluation will consist of: a) THEORETICAL PART: 50% of the total grade. Written exam on the contents of the program. b) CASE STUDY: 50% of the total grade. Group analysis of a socio-environmental conflict. The student's grade will be the average of the two previous activities. To pass the subject, you must obtain a minimum grade of 5 in both evidences.
											If the exam grade does not reach 5, the student has another opportunity to pass the subject through the make-up exam that will be held on the date set by the degree coordinator. 
In this test you can recover 50% of the grade corresponding to the theory. If the subject is suspended for not having passed the case study, the teaching team may enable a recovery mechanism for this part of the grade.

Unique assessment  Students who have accepted the single assessment modality will have to take a final test which will consist of a theory exam where they will have to develop a topic and answer a series of short questions. 
Then you will have to hand in an assignment where you will have to solve a case study similar to those worked on in the Classroom Practice sessions.
The student's grade will be the weighted average of the two previous activities, where the theory exam will account for 50% of the grade and the case study 50%.
If the final grade does not reach 5, the student has another opportunity to pass the subject through theremedial exam that will be held on the date set by the degree coordinator.
In this test you can recover 50% of the grade corresponding to the theory. If the subject is suspended for not having passed the case study, the teaching team may enable a recovery mechanism for this part of the grade.

Assessment Activities

Title Weighting Hours ECTS Learning Outcomes
Essay 50% 0 0 CM11, CM12, KM18
Exam 50% 0 0 CM09, CM10, KM16, KM17, KM19, SM17, SM18


ALISA, G. d' ET AL (eds) (2015) Decrecimiento. Vocabulario para una nueva era, Barcelona, Icaria

ASOCIACIÓN TOUDA (2013), Entrevista a Dennis Meadows, recuperada a: https://www.asociacion-touda.org/2013/04/30/dennis-meadows-no-hay-nada-que-podamos-hacer/ 

BECK, U. (2002), “De la sociedad industrial a la sociedad del riesgo: cuestiones de supervivencia, estructura social e ilustración ecológica”, a: La sociedad del riesgo global, Madrid, Siglo XXI, pp. 75-112.  

BECK, U. (2009) The World at Risk, Cambridge, Polity Press. 

BELL, M. M. (2009) An Invitation to Environmental Sociology. California. Pine Forge Press.

COMMONER, B. (1992), “En guerra con el planeta”, a En paz con el planeta, Barcelona, Crítica, pp. 11-23. 

DUNLAP, R.E.; BUTTEL, F.H.; DICKENS, P.; GIJSWITJ, A. (2002) Sociological Theory and the Environment. Classical Foundations, Contemporary Insights. Lanhan: Rowman & Littlefield Publishers.

ESPLUGA, J.; RUSCHEINSKY, A.; PRADES, A. (2018). “El concepto de riesgo y su aplicación al análisis de conflictos socioambientales”. A: A. Vallejos-Romero; J. Valencia Hernández & A. Boso (eds.) Riesgos, Gobernanza y Conflictos Socioambientales. Temuco (Chile): Ediciones Universidad de La Frontera. P. 69-90.

GARCIA, E. (2004), Medio ambiente y sociedad. La civilización industrial y loslímites del planeta. Madrid: Alianza.

HARARI, Y.N. (2018). 21 lliçons per al segle XXI, Barcelona: Edicions 62. 

HERRERO, Y. (2016)."Prólogo ala edición española: ecofeminismo, más necesario que nunca", a MIES, M.; SHIVA, V., Ecofeminismo, Barcelona, Icaria, pp.7-10. 

IRWIN, A. (2001) Sociologyand the Environment. Oxford.  Polity Press. 

LATOUCHE, S. (2008, original francès 2006), La apuesta por el decrecimiento. ¿Cómo salir del imaginario dominante?, Barcelona, Icaria.

LEMKOW, L. (2002), Sociología ambiental. Barcelona: Icària.

LÓPEZ CEREZO, J.A.; LUJÁN, J.L. (2000) Ciencia y política del riesgo. Madrid: Alianza.

MARTÍNEZ ALIER, J.; OLIVERES, A. (2005), ¿Quién debe a quién? Deuda ecológica y deuda externa, Barcelona, Icaria.

MONTAGUT, X.; DOGLIOTTI, F.  (2006), Alimentos globalizados. Soberanía alimentaria y comercio justo, Barcelona, Icaria.

REDCLIFT, M and Benton, T. (1994) Social Theory and the Global Environment. London. Routledge. 

RICH, N. (2020). Perdiendo la Tierra: la década en que podríamos haber detenido el cambio climático, Madrid: Capitán Swing. 

RIECHMANN, J. & FERNÁNDEZ BUEY, F. (1994). “Ecologismo, proteccionismo, ambientalismo: una aproximación histórica”. Cap. 3 de: Redes que dan libertad. Introducción a los nuevos movimientos sociales. Barcelona: Paidós. Pàgs. 103-116.

SCHNAIBERG, A. (1998). "Politizando la rueda de producción: Los programas de reciclaje de residuos sólidos en Estados Unidos”, Revista Internacional de Sociología, 19-20, pp. 181-222.  

SCHNAIBERG, A. and Gould, K. A. (1994) Environment and Society. The Enduring Conflict. Caldwell. The blackburn Press. 

SEMPERE, J.; RIECHMANN, J. (2000), Sociología y medio ambiente. Madrid: Síntesis.

SHIVA, V. (2001), Biopiratería. El saqueo de la naturaleza y el conocimiento, Barcelona, Icaria.

STIGLITZ, J.E. (2007, orig. Inglés 2002), El malestar en la globalización, Barcelona, Punto deLectura.

TAMAMES, R. (1995), Ecología y desarrollo sostenible. La polémica sobre los límites del crecimiento, Madrid, Alianza.

VARGAS, M. (coord) (2009), Agrocombustibles ¿otro negocio es posible?, Barcelona, Icaria.

WILSON, E.O. (2012). La conquista social de la Tierra, Barcelona: Debate. 


No specific software required.