Undergraduate Module Descriptor

SOC2097: Environment and Society

This module descriptor refers to the 2019/0 academic year.


NQF Level 5
Credits 15 ECTS Value 7.5
Term(s) and duration

This module ran during term 2 (11 weeks)

Academic staff

Dr Astrid Schrader (Convenor)





Available via distance learning


This module introduces you to methodologies and approaches in Science and Technology Studies as they pertain to the analysis of environmental problems. We will explore how science, technology and society interact to determine what counts as an environmental problem. We will ask, for example:
- How are possible responses to environmental crises shaped by technological development and assumptions about what counts as ‘nature’?
- How do regulatory institutions deal with uncertainties in science?
- Who is an expert and who contributes to environmental knowledge production?
- How is environmental risk regulated in different countries?
- What is the relationship between science and politics in various approaches to environmental problems?
These questions will be investigated with the help of a range of case studies. You will become familiar with debates around climate change, genetically modified foods, biodiversity, invasive species, indoor pollution and analyse responses to environmental disasters such as Chernobyl, Bhopal, Hurricane Katarina.
The module consists of a combination of lectures and seminar based discussions of pre-assigned readings. There are no prerequisites and it is suitable for non-specialist students in the social and natural sciences, the humanities and engineering and is highly appropriate for students following interdisciplinary pathways.

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