The International Handbook of Environmental Sociology, Second Edition
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The International Handbook of Environmental Sociology, Second Edition

Edited by Michael R. Redclift and Graham Woodgate

This thoroughly revised Handbook provides an assessment of the scope and content of environmental sociology, and sets out the intellectual and practical challenges posed by the urgent need for policy and action to address accelerating environmental change.
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Editorial commentary


Graham Woodgate The final part of this volume reflects the first part of the book’s title, providing insights into the dynamics of socio-environmental relations in Africa, Australia, China, Europe and Latin America. As well as environmental sociologists, contributors to this section include anthropologists, policy analysts and, not surprisingly, geographers. The first contribution comes from David Manuel-Navarrete and Michael Redclift, who seek to draw sociological attention to the concept of ‘place’ and propose the concept of ‘place confirmation’ to emphasize the centrality of the notion of place as both location and the association of meanings with location. ‘Like gender and nature,’ they suggest, ‘the meaning of place may be negotiable but its importance in the canon of concepts available to environmental sociology suggests considerable room for further development.’ Chapter 21 begins with a review of academic debate surrounding the notion of ‘place’, before moving to a short case study of the Caribbean Coast of Mexico. The authors’ case study illustrates the dynamics of place construction and contestation, and demonstrates how economic globalization is colonizing the ‘empty space’ spared by the modern state and constructing new places of consumption dominated by logics of extraction and economic profit. At the same time, however, globalization also opens up new places of resistance and struggle, suggesting that the homogenizing tendencies of globalization have never completely replaced historic and alternative constructions of place: globalized spaces are being superimposed on previous meanings. The superimposition of abstract narratives of ecological dynamics and environmental governance on local socio-environmental...

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