In this second of two presentations on sociology’s engagement with the environment, Dr. Dana Fisher first highlights a theoretical distinction between environmental sociology and the environmental state. She defines key concepts in environmental sociology—the treadmill of production, overshoot, and metabolic rift—all of which see environmental degradation as related to economic growth. She then defines key concepts of the environmental state approach—ecological modernization, ecological reflectivity, and the world policy perspective—and notes that the environmental state approach sees environmental protection as a source of economic growth. She concludes by highlighting the differences in focus, assumptions and research approaches between the two paradigms.
Fisher, D.R. and Freudenburg, W.R. (2004). Ecological efficiency, disproportionality and methodological precision: On the importance of linking methods to theory. Social Forces: https://www.researchgate.net/publication/251734786_Ecological_Efficiency_Disproportionality_and_Methodological_Precision_on_the_Importance_of_Linking_Methods_to_Theory
Dana R. Fisher is a Professor of Sociology and the Director of the Program for Society and the Environment at the University of Maryland. Her research focuses on understanding the relationship between environmentalism and democracy, most recently studying environmental stewardship and American climate politics. Her research employs a mix methods approach that integrates data collected through open-ended, semi-structured interviews and participant observation with various forms of survey data. Her current research involves data collected from environmental activists, stewardship organizations, volunteer stewards, and students in the DC school system, as well as political elites engaged in climate policy making in the United States and internationally.