Marx’s Theory of Metabolic Rift

Marx’s Theory of Metabolic Rift: Classical Foundations for Environmental Sociology” [PDF], American Journal of Sociology, vol. 105, no. 2 (September 1999), pp. 366-405. DOI: 10.1086/210315

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, is too abundant to be convincingly denied. The nature of this paradox, its origins, and the means of transcending it are illustrated primarily through an analysis of Marx’s theory of metabolic rift, which, it is contended, offers important classical foundations for environmental sociology.

  • R. Scott Frey, The Environment and Society: A Reader (Boston: Allyn and Bacon, 2000, 2003).
  • Reprinted in Michael Redclift and Graham Woodgate, ed., New Developments in Environmental Sociology. (Aldershot, U.K., Brookfield, VT: Edward Elgar, 2005), pp. 55-94.

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