Ecological modernization theory

Taking stock, moving forward 1

Authored by: Arthur P.J. Mol , Gert Spaargaren , David A. Sonnenfeld

Routledge International Handbook of Social and Environmental Change

Print publication date:  October  2013
Online publication date:  October  2013

Print ISBN: 9780415782791
eBook ISBN: 9780203814550
Adobe ISBN: 9781136707995


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With the rebirth of environmental concern among social scientists in the 1960s and 1970s, scholars initially were preoccupied with explaining environmental devastation. Their central concern was how human behaviour, capitalist institutions, a culture of mass consumption, failing governments and states, and industrial and technological developments, among others, contributed to the ongoing deterioration of the physical environment. In the 1970s and 1980s, with environmental problems manifesting themselves on a worldwide scale, there were many reasons to look for explanations of the widening and deepening environmental crises. The result was an expansive literature – both theoretical and empirical in nature – on the main causes of continued environmental deterioration. Various disciplines and schools of thought emphasized different structural, institutional and behavioural traits as the fundamental origins and causes of the environmental crisis.

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