Staff Publications

Staff Publications

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    'Staff publications' is the digital repository of Wageningen University & Research

    'Staff publications' contains references to publications authored by Wageningen University staff from 1976 onward.

    Publications authored by the staff of the Research Institutes are available from 1995 onwards.

    Full text documents are added when available. The database is updated daily and currently holds about 240,000 items, of which 72,000 in open access.

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Record number 532268
Title Incorporating nature in environmental sociology: a critique of Bhaskar and Latour, and a proposal
Author(s) Koppen, C.S.A. van
Source Environmental Sociology 3 (2017)3. - ISSN 2325-1042 - p. 173 - 185.
DOI http://dx.doi.org/10.1080/23251042.2016.1272180
Department(s) Environmental Policy
WIMEK
WASS
Publication type Refereed Article in a scientific journal
Publication year 2017
Keyword(s) sociology - nature - critical realism - actor-network theory - lifeworld
Abstract There is a vital, but complex and controversial debate in environmental sociology regarding how to bring nature into sociological investigation. This article discusses two influential strands in this debate: Bhaskar’s critical realism and its elaboration by Carolan, and the ‘politics of nature’ approach of Bruno Latour. Building on a critical assessment of these approaches, the article outlines an epistemological framework for a sociology that takes nature (in the sense of natural environment, material objects and human bodies) into account, and gives sociological meaning to natural science findings. At the core of this framework is the notion that sociology has an episteme (in the meaning introduced by Foucault) that is different from that of natural science, and that takes the lifeworld as its object and platform of debate. Nature can be incorporated in this episteme by taking in bodily experience as proposed by phenomenology (in particular, Merleau-Ponty) and by treating natural science facts as sensitizing concepts, not as sociological facts.
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