The International Handbook of Environmental Sociology
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The International Handbook of Environmental Sociology

Edited by Michael R. Redclift and Graham Woodgate

The International Handbook of Environmental Sociology is a major interdisciplinary reference work on the developing field of environmental sociology. It consists of over 30 specially commissioned essays by leading scholars from around the world. These original essays examine a wide range of environmental issues in the developed and developing world as well as formerly centrally planned countries to present a truly international perspective. Together they analyse theory and concepts, philosophical and empirical issues as well as offering practical policy advice.
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Chapter 6: Environment and developing countries

Bernhard Glaeser


Bernhard Glaeser INTRODUCTION Development theories traditionally ask how a structural order can be produced and how it was produced historically in any given society or in a set of societies. Socially, this process refers to institution building in the civic society, politically to nation building and economically to market building. Usually, these theories do not take into account how societies relate to and interact with nature. Interaction with nature refers to socioeconomic input variables such as matter and energy just as to the corresponding output variables such as waste and heat dissipation. To modernize or not to modernize is the theoretical core emphasis in all of the explanatory or justifying attempts dealing with development: either the industrializing process is considered to be a valid and viable strategy (theories of modernization) or the contrary is true owing to power structures inherent in world capitalism (theories of dependency). The frame of reference is usually the historical process of development in the northern halves of the European and American continents. The recent notion of the world society’s ecological sustainability engenders questions concerning its compatability with economic competition on the world market (cf. Altvater, 1992: 398; 1996a: 90). THE INTERNATIONAL SYSTEM VERSUS AUTONOMOUS DEVELOPMENT CONCEPTS Interestingly, some of the ideas relating to western dominance in world development, as spelled out later by the protagonists of dependency theory, can be found as early as 1927 in an article written by R.D. McKenzie (1927: 28-42) who is often referred to as a founding father of environmental...

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