Thinking Through the Environment
Edited by Mark J. Smith
Routledge – 1999 – 448 pages
This reader brings together material from ecological thought, environmental policy, environmental philosophy, social and political thought, historical sociology and cultural studies. The extracts tell the story of the way the natural environment has been understood in the modern world and how this has recently been questioned as contemporary societies are seen as characterised by uncertainty and complexity.
The literature guides the reader through the conventiaonal grounds for thinking about rights and obligations in relation to future generations, non-human animals and the biotic commununities, bringing each into question. This then leads into a critical examination of social and political theories and their capacity for drawing on ecological thought. Each of the seven sections of readings is introduced by the editor who locates the set of readings within the specific themes and issues at the heart of each section.
This broad-reaching and thought-provoking set of readings stresses the diversity of response to environmental problems both within and between anthropocentric and ecocentric approaches and will encourage the reader to examine how they are manifested in the areas of environmental ethics, policy analysis and social and political theory.
"it would be invaluable for postgraduate students in other further or higher education institutions taking courses with an environmental component. Teachers in schools with an interest or responsibility for environmental education would find it a useful addition to their libraries…..as a help in making sense of the nature of the passionate arguments about environmental issues with which young people often engage" Dave Ebbutt Cambridge Journal of Education Nov 1999
Mark Smith is lecturer in Social Sciences at the Open University.