Rationality and Nature

“Rationality and Nature,” [PDF], Contemporary Sociology, vol. 24, no. 6 (November 1995), pp. 784-86. (Review of Raymond Murphy, Rationality and Nature; Richard Norgaard, Development Betrayed; and Michael Redclift and Ted Benton, ed. Social Theory and the Global Environment.)

The emergence in the 1980s and ’90s of an increasingly global approach to ecological problems-marked by the ascendance of such issues as the destruction of the ozone layer, global warming, tropical deforestation, and an annual loss of species possibly in the tens of thousands-has altered forever the relation of ecology to the social sciences. Recognizing that the entire planet is increas- ingly subject to ecological depredations and that the time available for addressing these problems is extremely short, social scientists concerned with ecological issues are becoming more aggressive in their demands for the ecological transformation of their disciplines. “Sociology,” as Raymond Murphy declares in the preface to Rationality and Nature, “has been constructed as if nature didn’t matter. It has failed to take the processes of nature into account, perceiving only the social construction of reality. Environmental problems are beginning to send shock waves through this myopic sociological structure. Sociology fabricated as if nature didn’t matter constitutes pre-ecological sociology” (p. x).

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