Monthly Archives: March 2013

ch.2, ec-p.3 – segments of us society who consistently express greatest concern for environment still today…

“After nearly four decades, the most likely faces of environmental concern reflect the same segments of the population, though their numbers vary over the years. “Although the degree of concern Americans show for environmental issues has fluctuated significantly over the past three to four decades, generally majorities of the public have expressed concern about the quality of the environment and support for environmental protection efforts. What has varied is the size of the ‘pro-environment’ majority” (Gallup 2003). Cornerstones of environmental concern remain younger people, females, and the more educated and politically liberal (Nooney, Woodrum, Hoban, and Clifford 2003).”


The EPA was directed to set standards for radi...

The EPA was directed to set standards for radioactive materials under Reorganization Plan No. 3 (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

ch2., ec-p.2 –  who was most likely to care most about environmental quality and greater protection of ecosystems through the 1970s and 1980s…

“Analysts described the social bases of US environmentalism by identifying social and demographic characteristics associated with various expressions of environmental concern about myriad environmental issues and ecological conditions (Dunlap and Jones 2002). As sociologists began exploring them systematically (Van Liere and Dunlap 1980), they found the social bases of environmental concern relatively stable (Klineberg, McKeever, and Rothenbach 1998). For almost two decades, “younger adults, the well-educated, political liberals, Democrats, those raised and currently living in urban areas…were found consistently more supportive of environmental protection than were their respective counterparts” (Jones and Dunlap 1992). Women were more concerned about risks associated with technology (Davidson and Freudenburg 1996), local pollution and toxic waste problems (Brown and Ferguson 1995, Krauss 1989), and “when significant gender differences emerge, women are found to be more environmentally concerned” (Jones and Dunlap 1992).”


English: 1908 US editorial cartoon on Theodore...

English: 1908 US editorial cartoon on Theodore Roosevelt and conservation (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Climate Adaptation Cafe

Coffee, like most crops, will suffer (and in fact has already suffered) greatly from climate change. Temperature changes, increasing or decreasing rain with sporadic downpours, varying lengths of seasons… Needless to say, high quality, highly vulnerable Arabica coffee will not simply grow effortlessly on the rolling hills of a finca.

Growing coffee today is harder than it has been for most of the recent past, yet it could be as easy as it will get if we think about the near future and the changing climate that comes with it. Rust can ruin an entire crop. Too much rain can cause devastating soil erosion. Shorter and longer seasons alter the essential processes that give us those complex, addicting flavor notes of a good cup of coffee. And how about the people who grow our coffee? Coffee farmers face shrinking incomes, which only diminishes their capacity to adapt.
It’s not all bad news, of…

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ch.2, ec-p.1 – opening introductory paragraph for environmental concern section describing the beginning of sociological attention to public concern about ecosystems and support for greater protection of the environment…

“After the first Earth Day in 1970, US sociologists began intensively exploring which constituencies of the population were amenable to and supportive of the environmental movement’s goals (Buttel 1977, Heberlein and Black 1978, Van Liere and Dunlap 1981). This exploration included describing the strength of public concern about ecological conditions (Dunlap 1992), gauging support for environmental policies (Buttel and Flinn 1976), and associating support with social and demographic characteristics (Dunlap and Van Liere 1984). Analysts explored individuals’ perceptions about ecological conditions through original research surveys (Dunlap, Van Liere, Mertig and Jones 2000) and by using secondary data from opinion polling (Dunlap and Scarce 1991). Professional acceptance of environmental sociology as a sub-discipline accelerated studies of environmental concern (Catton and Dunlap 1980). More than a thousand assessments have been conducted since then, most relying on quantitative methodologies (Dunlap and Jones, 2002). Analysts take these views about environmental problems and the variability of expressed environmental concern to reflect the environmental movement’s “social bases” of public support (Dietz, Stern, and Guagnano 1998, Dunlap and Mertig 1992, Jones and Dunlap 1992, Van Liere and Dunlap 1980). These social bases reveal who is concerned about the biophysical world or practices pro-environmental behaviors.”

The Earth seen from Apollo 17.

The Earth seen from Apollo 17. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

a short and sweet closing paragraph to the section on social construction. occasionally i write stuff that quickens my pulse because it feels inspiring and reminds me why sociology gives me hope. this is one them, maybe it is for you… 

“Social constructionists adopt the interpretive approach “as a counter to survey research, which…fails to understand the meanings people attach to their lives and actions.” In contrast to quantifying individuals’ discrete attitudes, hearing individuals’ own stories facilitates study of the interaction of structure and agency in meaning construction. Agger advocates the approach because individuals’ stories “can be read to reveal both the ways in which they have been socialized to accept ‘reality’ as defined for them by dominant ideologies and institutions, and the ways in which they creatively resist and transform these definitions” (2006:??).”


Orphanage Photographers - Visual Sociology

Orphanage Photographers – Visual Sociology (Photo credit: Paul Chenoweth)

beginning to close the section on sociological social construction approach to social problems, one more paragraph and then on to section two: environmental concern – with a summary of its social bases and my review of the research on religion’s role in it…

“Today’s proponents of the social construction approach to social problems continue urging analysts to follow a “middle road” (Weinberg 2009:1) between its principled, narrow version (Ibarra and Kitsuse 1993) and other sociological traditions in which the objective conditions of social problems are assumed (Spector and Kitsuse 1977). They acknowledge a pragmatic and paradoxical challenge facing the social constructionist perspective is everyone’s inevitable embeddedness in the mundane social world. “Neither we as researchers nor those we study can ever intelligibly leave the domain of embodied, invested, and fully purposeful practical action” (Weinberg 2009#1). However, they contest the strict constructionist argument to ignore this (Ibarra and Kitsuse 1993). “Agnosticism regarding the structural contexts of human action comes at the cost of rendering that action normatively unaccountable or, in other words, unintelligible. General social problems theory cannot succeed if it is confined to the comparative analysis of social problems discourse in vacuo” (Weinberg 2009#1). Calling for a contextual social constructionist approach to social problems reflects the value proponents place on holding onto this analytical tension and balance. It comes from the belief that this perspective offers sociologists a clearer, wider vision on how some conditions, but not others, become defined as problems and why people’s views about them vary.”


I am very concerned about environmental problems

I am very concerned about environmental problems (Photo credit: Gauravonomics)

Mobilizing Ideas

Activists and Scholars Debate Social Movements and Social Change