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Tag Archives | American Journal of Sociology

The Power of Inaction – A Review

The great financial crisis of 2007–9 has given rise to a small industry of academic studies, some directed at the wider systemic tendencies of capital, class and crisis, others at narrower regulatory or managerial issues. Cornelia Woll’s The Power of Inaction is a work of the latter kind. It is a study of the state-finance […]

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Weber and the Environment

In the last two decades classical sociology, notably Marx, has been mined for environmental insights in the attempt to surmount the “human exemptionalism” of post–Second World War sociology. Weber, however, has remained an enigma in this respect. This article addresses Weber’s approach to the environment, including its significance for his interpretive-causal framework and his understanding […]

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Nature, Technology and the Sacred

The classical sociologists, including Marx, Weber, and Durkheim, all argued that society was experiencing a rapid secularization, arising from the Enlightenment, industrialization, and capitalism. While Marx famously argued that under capitalism “all that is holy is profaned,” Weber just as famously referred to the “disenchantment of nature” associated with formal rationalization. Although by no means […]

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Marx’s Theory of Metabolic Rift

This article addresses a paradox: on the one hand, environmental sociology, as currently developed, is closely associated with the thesis that the classical sociological tradition is devoid of systematic insights into environmental problems; on the other hand, evidence of crucial classical contributions in this area, particularly in Marx, but also in Weber, Durkheim, and others, […]

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