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Environmental Sociology 7 (4/6): New Ecological Paradigm: Example: Environmental Underclasses

WHO: I am Dr. Mark D. Whitaker (Ph.D., Sociology; University of Wisconsin-Madison), from a university known for its concentration of environmental sociologists. My interests are environmental sociology, comparative history, the organizational causes of environmental degradation, and sustainability strategies. WHAT: This is a free seven part video lecture series on Environmental Sociology. This is an excerpt of a Social Stratification course that will serve as the NEP capstone for the lst of the seven lectures on summarizing the five traditions of environmental sociology. ================================ Outline of this Session ----------------------- FULLER TITLE: New Ecological Paradigm: Environmental Underclasses as a Common Theme Seen in Spatial, Gender, and Ethnic Hierarchies BACKGROUND: This is from a Social Stratification course. However, it shows multiple examples of the "New Ecological Paradigm" view in Environmental Sociology, so this stands as the fifth theoretical perspective in Environmental Sociology even though I am not mentioning it by name here. So review what is said in the first video: the New Ecological Paradigm desired to jettison past sociological theorizing as "overly anthropocentric" and to start theorizing social relations as social/environmental relations always discussing the blending social, biological, and physical together in a particular topic as the basis of analysis without artificially considering anything a mere social topic. As examples of this hybridity, I talk about social inequality as an environmental inequality equally. First, gender as an environmental inequality is discussed. Second, I continuing the gender theme with the added theme of how social stratification in 'modern' industrialization can even maintain cultural and environmental inequality by perpetuating a cultural marking of regional ranking instead of assumptions of urbanization and industrialization demoting it. The case is Jolla Province, Jolla-do, in South Korea. This cultural/environmental ranking hierarchy is over 500 years old and still continues in 'modern' Korea's ongoing social/environmental stratification. Third, we talk about environmental racism—a U.S. centric term I don't like. So I introduce a more comparative term "environmental underclasses" because they can be coded onto any number of other social variables of stratification instead of always being an ethnic hierarchy that is the issue. It is only an environmental inequality as ethnic issue in the USA, though in other places of the world such environmental underclasses can be coded on religion, regional origin, language accent, job classification heritage, etc.—with nothing at all to do with 'racism.' That is why it is silly to use a misleading U.S. term "environmental racism" for a wider environmental phenomenon of environmental underclasses. In conclusion, in these three different themes, the topic is more than social inequalities. It is environmental underclasses. It is this hybrid topic. It is the New Ecological Paradigm that helps us to understand environmental underclasses. (1/6) Example 1: Gender and Places in Social Stratification compared in 16 developing countries (2/6) continued, small part (3/6) Example 2: Korean industrialization continuing gender stratification and now spatial stratification and rankings continued: case of Jollado as a spatial/environmental stratification that has been going on for centuries marginalizing Jolla-do in Korean politics, culture, and development; the ongoing environmental underclass of Jolla-do in Korea (4/6) continued, small part (5/6) Example 3: summary of what I talked about more explicitly with history of Jolla-do, compared to other cases of U.S. 'ethnic' environmental stratification (Perrow on "environmental racism"). As I said, and I agree with Perrow here, this is closer to an 'environmental stratification' first by some groups wanting to dominate something material and environmental (including labor) about a region, and then actively denying people feedback into the inequitable relationship. Thus if environmental issues are the basis of the construction of environmental racisms/underclasses, then 'environmental underclasses' in social stratification arrangements are PRIMARILY based on unrepresentative, violent, intimidating extraction of materials or labor (instead of on racism or other issues per se) while ONLY SECONDARILY denying equality of political and cultural feedback to maintain the inequalities. That Perrow article is a good read. (6/6) continued; closing with a tribute to Mandy Coe's picture book Red Shoes. It explains without words many types of stratification that are truly (unfortunately) universally understood and little discussed openly: gender, ethnic, regional/spatial, cultural, environmental conditions, job stratification, educational stratification, etc. It's a silent picture book designed to get people talking about tabooed issues.
Length: 13:47

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