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The University of Southampton

SOCI2033 Environment, Development and Society

Module Overview

Environment, Development and Society is a course that aims to create a better understanding of how society and the economy interact with our natural environment and its limited resources. Global environmental problems such as climate change and the decline of ecological habitats have increased the urgency to change the dominant understanding of social, economic and human development. Concepts such as ecological modernisation, low carbon development and sustainability all depict alternative environmental approaches to development. This course aims to impart knowledge and develop critical thinking about a number of selected topics concerned with the interface between environment, development and society. The course will be a mix of theoretical lectures and seminars and workshops focusing more on practical examples of environment and human development. The course will offer an insight into the contemporary role of the environment in international development including from the perspective of international organizations such as the UN, the World Bank, EU and popular green movements and NGOs. We will touch upon case studies such as transition movement, carbon trading and the role of environmental concern in international aid.

Aims and Objectives

Module Aims

The aim of the module is for students to acquire and demonstrate an advanced level of knowledge and understanding of the complex issues surrounding environment, society and development from a sociological perspective. The students should also gain an understanding of other perspectives such as from social policy, international development and economics.

Learning Outcomes

Learning Outcomes

Having successfully completed this module you will be able to:

  • Assess key debates related to environmental sociology and international development
  • Critically evaluate the relationship between the environment, development and society in both policies and theories
  • Understand the natural resource linkages between developing and developed countries
  • Have a critical understanding of contemporary policies and practices in environment, society and development through different theoretical lenses such as sociology, social policy, international development and economics
  • Critically assess and interpret policy, data, theory, and literature.
  • Generate and present verbal and written arguments.
  • Develop superior problem-solving, critical thinking, and research skills, using library and electronic resources.
  • Demonstrate an ability to work both independently and constructively with others.
  • Be able to critically evaluate actual case studies and practices


Theory and practice What is nature? How the environment shapes society How society shapes the environment International development and the environment Environmental justice, environmental inequalities and social policy The nation state, globalization and the environment Economics, consumption and development Green movements and civil society Gender and the environment Contemporary environmental problems and practice Climate change, the global North and the global South The UNFCCC Climate Change Negotiations Green global capitalism: reality or myth? Low carbon development, sustainability, ecological modernisation or eco-socialism? The future of green politics and political parties

Learning and Teaching

Independent Study124
Total study time150

Resources & Reading list

Pretty, J., Ball, A., Bemton, T., Guivant, J., Lee, D.R., Orr, Pfeffer, M. and Ward, H.,(eds) (2007). The SAGE handbook of environment and society. 



MethodPercentage contribution
Essay  ( words) 40%
Exam  (2 hours) 60%


MethodPercentage contribution
Exam 100%

Repeat Information

Repeat type: Internal & External

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