Socioecological Transitions and Global Change

Socioecological Transitions and Global Change

Trajectories of Social Metabolism and Land Use

Advances in Ecological Economics series

Edited by Marina Fischer-Kowalski and Helmut Haberl

This significant new book analyses fundamental changes in society-nature interaction: the socioeconomic use of materials, energy and land. The volume presents a number of case studies addressing transitions from an agrarian to an industrial socioecological regime, analysed within the materials and energy flow accounting (MEFA) framework. It is argued that by concentrating on the biophysical dimensions of change in the course of industrialization, social development issues can be explicitly linked to changes in the natural environment.

Chapter 2: Land-use Change and Socioeconomic Metabolism: A Macro View of Austria 1830–2000

Fridolin Krausmann and Helmut Haberl

Subjects: environment, ecological economics, environmental sociology


Fridolin Krausmann and Helmut Haberl 2.1 INTRODUCTION Transitions from agrarian to industrial society are characterized by fundamental rearrangements in societal organization, in the economy (Gellner 1989; Polanyi 1971; Wrigley 1988) and in society–nature interaction (McNeill 2000; Turner et al. 1990). Focusing on this latter aspect, this chapter analyses the transition from agrarian to industrial society in Austria, one of the relatively late developers in terms of European industrialization. The analysis of aggregate changes on the national scale presented in this chapter is complemented by local case studies and a discussion of exchange relations between different locales in Chapter 5. When we say ‘Austria’, we refer to the country with its present national boundaries. The socioeconomic system of Austria has only existed as a political and administrative unit since 1918. Present-day Austria extended before the end of World War I across several provinces of the AustroHungarian Empire, one of the largest empires in Europe. Five of the Austro-Hungarian Empire’s provinces (Kronländer) were approximately identical to modern Austrian provinces (Bundesländer). These five provinces (counted today as six with the inclusion of the city of Vienna, which is now a separate province in administrative terms) account for almost 60 per cent of Austrian territory today. Two other provinces, Tyrol and Styria (35 per cent of Austria’s current territory), covered a considerably larger territory before 1918. Therefore, historical data needed to be selected and adjusted to fit into a reasonably consistent time series.1 We will demonstrate how transitions from agrarian...

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