Starting Points Chapter 2 Notes
* Learn the effects of population size and type on experiences
* Consider the interrelationship between the natural and built environment we live in
* Recognise the problematic relationship between population and environment
* We will learn how population, cities, and natural environment continue to affect us as
human beings living in societies.
> look at patterns in population size and population growth in both developed and
> and consider the many pressures endured by both the built and natural environment in
accommodating the billions people on earth.
* Society is made up with people
* increasing of world population
> concern about over population and effect to its environment
* Climate change is also a big issue
* The difference between rural area and urban area
> population of cities are much larger
> technologies such as subway, are found in the cities
> the built environment of a city conflicts with natural environment in many harmful ways Ways of looking at … Population
* in the realm of population and environment analysis, 2 main approaches are
> functional and critical theories
* the idea of population issues (like food supply) was first put forward in 1798, by one of the
founders of demography.
> Thomas Malthus was the first one to make concern about over population.
* Malthus argued that, while the Earth’s available food increases additively, population
> basically more food, more people
> however, at the end, food supply will be slower because of limited source.
* Malthus proposed that limits would keep population growth in line with the food supply.
* So Malthus right?
> Today, in Central Africa, women still bear an average of four, five, six children.
> world food production is increasing, but the rate is slowed down.
> 1970-90 = grew by 64% , 1990-2009, = grew by 24%
> hungry people declined from 878 million in 1970 to 825 million in the mid 1990s,
> but it is increasing since then Critical Theory’s approach to Malthus
* Sociologists who take a critical theory approach always deny that a social equilibrium is
attainable, or any social arrangement will benefit everyone equally.
> on the other hand, people in power take actions that benefit themselves the most and
support theories that justify their actions.
* from critical theories’ view, problems poor countries face today is not because of over
population but from an unfair and harmful distribution of wealth.
> WE CAN NOT TAKE FAMINE, AS PROOF OF OVERPOPULATION.
* History shows that poor people have much to gain by reducing their fertility and much to
lose by failing to do so.
Ways of looking at…. Urban Life
* functionalists would view social problems in the city as resulting naturally from growth and
> more wealth in city means more robbery
* Durkheim ’s term “common conscience”
> means pre industrial communities were relatively small, rural settlements in which
members shared the same experiences and developed similar values, norms, and identity.
> basically small community, better bonding with people * Durkheim’s “mechanical solidarity”
> lives of small towns are often interconnected in a tight, homogeneous social order.
* On the other hand, the new urban society was based on interdependent, though not
necessary intimate, relationships.
> linked by “organic solidarity”, members of this new society were no longer self sufficient.
* critical theorists always ask whose interests are served by the actions of the dominant
groups in society and their ideologies.
> attributing urban problems such as homelessness and poverty not to the effects of size,
variety, and fluidity, but the workings of capitalism.
* cities suffer because powerful people are ignoring these problems.
* problem of cities is, ultimately, a problem of economic inequality - unequal distribution of
urban wealth and poverty
* study how people experience city life on everyday basis.
> Georg Simmel was one of the first one to take approach.
* Simmel argues that cities are so inherently stimulating and quick-paced that to prevent
sensory overload, inhabitants need to reduce their sensitivity to events and people around
them. * Herbert Gans focuses on how the meaning of city life varies among groups and
Ways of looking at… the environment
* recognise that everyone is implicated in the pollution of the environment, some more than
* functionalists are not surprised that modern people’s activities have contributed to the
pollution of their natural surroundings and over harvesting of resources.
* “cornucopia view of nature”
> views nature as a storehouse of resources that exists only for the use of humans.
* “growth ethic”
> linked closely to materialism, celebrates the ability of technology itself has caused.
> privileges personal goals and desires over collective interests, is the driving force behind
the so-called tragedy of the commons.
> this term is coined by Garrett Hardin in 1968. Meaning unwelcome results of actions by
many self interested individuals.
Critical Theory * emphasise that when environmental problems arise, they hurt the poor more often and
more severely than they do the rich.
> over 90% of disaster related death occur among poor populations of developing
* Sociological research shows that disasters results more often from the spread of
capitalism and the marginalisation of the poor than from the effects of geophysical…
* studies how the meaning and thought patterns learned in social interaction affect
environmental problems, with a particular focus on how they influence people’s perception
of these problems.
* Why and how certain environmental issues enter the public consciousness?
> Clay Schoenfeld, Robert Meier and Robert Griffin have looked at how environmental
issues have become a problem in the public’s eye.
* offers insights into how environmental polluters manipulate symbols to protect themselves
> like eco marks on products.
* questions the prevailing