Archive | Journal Articles (Refereed)

Journal Articles (Refereed)

The Midas Effect

James Hansen, a leading US climatologist and director of NASA’s Goddard Institute for Space Studies, warns that global climate change today constitutes a ‘planetary emergency’. Existing trends threaten to set in mo- tion irreversible climate transformations, proceeding ‘mostly under their own momentum’, thereby fundamentally transforming the conditions of life on earth (Hansen, 2008b: 7–8).

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The Sociology of Ecology

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 […]

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Classical Marxism and the Second Law of Thermodynamics

Ever since Nicholas Georgescu-Roegen (1971) wrote his magnum opus, The Entropy Law and the Economic Process, the entropy law (or the second law of thermodynamics) has been viewed as a sine qua non of ecological economics. Georgescu-Roegen argued strongly that both the entropy law and the first law of thermodynamics (conservation of matter–energy) were incompatible […]

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The Critique of Intelligent Design

A new version of the age-old controversy between religion and science has been launched by today’s intelligent design movement. Although ostensibly concerned simply with combating Darwinism, this new creationism seeks to drive a “wedge” into the materialist view of the world, originating with the ancient Greek philosopher Epicurus and manifested in modern times by Darwin, […]

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Metabolism, Energy, and Entropy in Marx’s Critique of Political Economy: Beyond the Podolinsky Myth

Until recently, most commentators, including ecological Marxists, have assumed that Marx’s historical materialism was only marginally ecologically sensitive at best, or even that it was explicitly anti-ecological. However, research over the last decade has demonstrated not only that Marx deemed ecological materialism essential to the critique of political economy and to investigations into socialism, but […]

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The Treadmill of Accumulation

Allan Schnaiberg’s “treadmill of production” model has formed the single most influential framework of analysis within environmental sociology in the United States. Schnaiberg’s work is often characterized as “neo-Marxist,” but its actual relation to Marxian political economy has been left obscure. The following article examines Marx’s treatment of the treadmill as the crudest historical expression […]

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Ecological Economics and Classical Marxism

This introduction to “Socialism and the Unity of Physical Forces” reassesses Sergei Podolinsky’s place in the history of ecological economics together with Marx and Engels’s reaction to Podolinsky’s work. The authors show that contrary to conventional wisdom, Podolinsky did not establish a plausible thermodynamic basis for the labor theory of value that could have been […]

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The Dialectic of Organic/Inorganic Relations

Ecological thinkers have suggested that in applying an “organic/inorganic” distinction to humanity-nature, Marx embraced a dualistic and antagonistic conception of the human-nature relationship. The authors confront this view by considering how Marx’s various applications of the concepts organic and inorganic were shaped not only by standard scientific usage but also by Marx’s engagement with Hegel’s […]

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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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