The Sociology of Ecology

The Sociology of Ecology: Ecological Organicism versus Ecosystem Ecology in the Social Construction of Ecological Science, 1926-1935” [PDF], (coauthored with Brett Clark (Foster listed first), Organization & Environment, vol. 21, no. 3 (September 2008), pp. 311-52. DOI10.1177/1086026608321632

Environmental sociology has been divided in recent years by a debate between realists and constructionists centering on the knowledge claims of ecological science. Following a consid- eration of this debate and its relation to both environmental sociology and the “sociology of ecology,” a “realist constructionism” is advanced, taking as its concrete case the conflict in the 1920s and 1930s between Jan Christian Smuts’s organicist ecology and Arthur Tansley’s ecosystem ecology. A central analytical issue (derived from Marx and Engels) is the “double transfer” of ideas from society to nature and back again and how this was manifested in the early 20th-century ecology in the form of a justification for ecological racism/apartheid.

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