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Lecture 2

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SOC 300
Cheryl Teelucksingh

Lecture 2: Human Systems and the Environment Reaction paper – Due next week - Critical analysis - Case study to look at - Question: do you think Canada should be doing more to approach the climate change - Demonstrate the ability to integrate material from lecture and material - Additional analysis that goes beyond a summary - Max 3 pages – references at the end to the text or lecture, no outside research - Take a position and use evidence and acknowledge the limitations of the position - Environmental view: socially constructed vs realist perspective 1. Historical Change in Human Societies • Lenski and Nolan (1999) are American Sociologists that used evolutionary social theory to study societal change • categorized different types of subsistence modes • use a particular lens of analysis • looked at population growth, production and the environment • Argued that the way that a society obtains food and other resources is the driving force for change in terms of both population growth and production. • Population growth- how many people can we sustain, can we produce enough to take care of our self, and how does it affect the environment a) Hunter and Gatherer Societies - Life was more about leisure, worked about 2 ½ hours a day - Male – hunter, female- gatherer - 90% of the time that humans have been alive on earth have been hunters and gatherers - Small groups – had culture, roles, language, - Ideal way of living – you take just what you need from the environment - b) Agricultural Societies • About 10, 000 years ago, people learned how to cultivate crops (horticulturalists) and breed animals (pastoralists) -> larger and more certain food supply o Beginning of technology – construct of tools needed to produce more o Use small plots of land to grow crops- leads to private property ownership o Ability to sustain a larger group of people, roles become more defined o Feminist – not until we moved into agriculture that women became devalued o Start to take more from the environment and more complex society and structure  About 7000 years ago, shift to intensive agriculture – using the same fields and more complex technology ◦ Agricultural revolution: shift from a people-in-nature to a controlling-nature worldview. c) Industrial Societies  Began about 300 years ago in Europe with the textile industry and the use of machinery and new energy sources. ◦ Is about increase in population and maximize production ◦ Control society through wealth ◦ The ability to produce more increases damage on people health (working long hours, risky jobs, contamination) – is this really progress? ◦ Shift towards being about to control nature – no limitations to growth (can always produce more and increase size of factories which allows to have a bigger population) which is key for capitalism to work (ongoing production) ◦ Marx – in order for production to work, it required the raw material (wood) in addition to labor,  Realized that exploiting nature and labor go hand in hand  Factories were mainly in cities – new class of industrial wealth  Dominance of science based technologies ◦ People are further away from nature, and further away from being about to take care of one self CAPITALISM Exploited labour Labour Production Waste/Pollution Resources Product/Service Consumption • Protesting comes in through consumption – people can stop consuming products if they do not like the way the company is treating the environment c) Industrial Societies Treadmill of Production (Schainberg)  The treadmill links continuous economic growth to environmental degradation and the perpetuation of inequality Corporation + state + worker  growth  environmental degradation o Toronto- maximum capacity in terms of highway and roads  Cycles of consumption accelerates the desire for more and fuels the treadmill of production  1d) Post-Industrial Societies  Post-industrial shift to the information age.  Technology and communications facilitate world market economy d) P
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