Environmental Sociology


• Understand and critically reflect on different perspectives regarding the interaction between the concepts of environment and society.
• Understand the concepts, theories and perspectives that allow us to analyze the social causes of environmental issues and the social and political responses to these issues.
• Promote critical reflection on the emergence of development models and the sustainability concept.
• Apply concepts and theories of sociological analysis to a specific environmental issue.
• Enable to analyze environmental conflicts and develop case studies on risk perception and public participation processes.
• Enable to follow up current social and political debates on environmental issues and take a position based on theory.
• Develop autonomous bibliographic research skills and reflective confrontation between different theoretical perspectives and respective authors.

General characterization





Responsible teacher

Maria do Rosário Gonçalves Jorge


Weekly - 4

Total - 168

Teaching language



Available soon


Beck, U. (1992). Risk society: Towards a new modernity. London: Sage.
Bell, M. (2004). An invitation to environmental sociology. Thousand Oaks: P. Forge Press.
Dunlap, R.; Buttel, F.H.; Dickens, P.; Gijswijt, A. (Eds.) (2002). Sociological Theory and the Environment. Classical Foundations, Contemporary Insights. Oxford: Rowman & Littlefield Publishers.
Goldblatt, D. (1998). Teoria social e Ambiente. Lisboa. Instituto Piaget.
Gross, M. & Heinrichs, H. (Ed.) (2010). Environmental sociology: European perspectives and interdisciplinary challenges. London: Springer
Irwin, A. (2001). Sociology and the Environment. Cambridge: Polity Press.
Yearley, S. (1996). Sociology, Environmentalism, Globalization. London: Sage Publications.
Redclift, M.; Benton, T. (Eds.) (1994). Social Theory and the Global Environment. London: Routledge.
Waas, T; Hugé, J; Verbruggen, A; Wright, T (2011). Sustainable Development: A Bird’s Eye View. Sustainability, 3:1637-1661

Teaching method

During the exhibition of theoretical contents, it is intended to promote the understanding of the subjects and reflective analysis, highlighting the diversity of approaches. In practical classes, it is intended to promote the discussion of themes from the critical reading of the bibliography guided according to scientific criteria. The selection of a theme for the group ensay, the completion of the written project and its oral presentation will constitute important moments for the development of research and reflection skills on the issues analyzed in the context of Sociology of the Environment, as well as the presentation and debate skills.

Evaluation method

Evaluation Methodologies - a) A written test (individual and without consultation)(60%), b) A written research done in group, with oral presentation(40%)

Subject matter

1. The emergence of Sociology of the Environment: from the classics to current approaches.
2. Environment, development and sustainability.
• The evolution of the concept of development and the environmental dimension.
• Sustainable development and the interaction of human and natural systems.
3. Approaches to environmental ethics and the fundamentals of environmental perspectives
4. Theoretical proposals for the analysis of the relationship between society and environment
• New Ecological Paradigm
• Ecological Modernization
• Risk, uncertainty and sustainability in modernity: environmental risks, social vulnerabilities and the perception of risk.
5. Governance and public participation. Environmental associations and movements.
6. Representations, values and attitudes towards environmental issues.
7. Global changes and environment
• Climate change: the multiple impacts on society and the environment
• Technology, natural resources and consumption
• Environment and social inequality


Programs where the course is taught: