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Hollow Ecology: Ecological Modernization Theory and the Death of Nature

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Abstract:

Our planet is in ecological peril—and consequentially, all life on it, including the human species, are equally endangered. To act with sufficient quickness and resolution, we need to further develop and integrate deep, critical studies of ecology, the capitalist world-system, the state, and the processes of social change. One theoretical paradigm which claims to pursue that integration (and which has risen to increasing prominence in mainstream political discourse over the last decades) is Ecological Modernization Theory (EMT). Contrary to many alternative paradigms in environmental study, EMT argues both (a) that industrialism (rather than the inherent tendencies of the capitalist world-system) has caused our ecological woes, and (b) that further 'modernization'--technological, political, and social—is the appropriate and only feasible solution. EM theorists thus defend the possibility of successfully maintaining growth-oriented capitalism alongside these various forms of 'modernization' in extra-ecological spheres. In this paper, I will argue that upon careful analysis (via an engagement with political economy, state theory, studies of social movements, and other critical analyses), the theoretical constraints and presuppositions of the EM paradigm render each element of their prescriptions for our ecological crisis inadequate for our current ecological challenges. Through this critique of the extra-ecological premises of EMT, this paper intends to both supplement the growing body of insightful critiques of the ecological analyses and predictions of EMT, and encourage the further critique of EMT's extra-ecological premises in other theoretical fields.
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Association:
Name: Pacific Sociological Association Annual Meeting
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http://www.pacificsoc.org


Citation:
URL: http://citation.allacademic.com/meta/p707248_index.html
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MLA Citation:

Ewing, Jeffrey. "Hollow Ecology: Ecological Modernization Theory and the Death of Nature" Paper presented at the annual meeting of the Pacific Sociological Association Annual Meeting, Marriott Downtown Waterfront, Portland, Oregon, Mar 27, 2014 <Not Available>. 2014-12-10 <http://citation.allacademic.com/meta/p707248_index.html>

APA Citation:

Ewing, J. , 2014-03-27 "Hollow Ecology: Ecological Modernization Theory and the Death of Nature" Paper presented at the annual meeting of the Pacific Sociological Association Annual Meeting, Marriott Downtown Waterfront, Portland, Oregon <Not Available>. 2014-12-10 from http://citation.allacademic.com/meta/p707248_index.html

Publication Type: Formal research paper presentation
Review Method: Peer Reviewed
Abstract: Our planet is in ecological peril—and consequentially, all life on it, including the human species, are equally endangered. To act with sufficient quickness and resolution, we need to further develop and integrate deep, critical studies of ecology, the capitalist world-system, the state, and the processes of social change. One theoretical paradigm which claims to pursue that integration (and which has risen to increasing prominence in mainstream political discourse over the last decades) is Ecological Modernization Theory (EMT). Contrary to many alternative paradigms in environmental study, EMT argues both (a) that industrialism (rather than the inherent tendencies of the capitalist world-system) has caused our ecological woes, and (b) that further 'modernization'--technological, political, and social—is the appropriate and only feasible solution. EM theorists thus defend the possibility of successfully maintaining growth-oriented capitalism alongside these various forms of 'modernization' in extra-ecological spheres. In this paper, I will argue that upon careful analysis (via an engagement with political economy, state theory, studies of social movements, and other critical analyses), the theoretical constraints and presuppositions of the EM paradigm render each element of their prescriptions for our ecological crisis inadequate for our current ecological challenges. Through this critique of the extra-ecological premises of EMT, this paper intends to both supplement the growing body of insightful critiques of the ecological analyses and predictions of EMT, and encourage the further critique of EMT's extra-ecological premises in other theoretical fields.


Similar Titles:
Toward and Overarching Theory of Modernity and the Natural Environment

The Planetary Rift and the New Exemptionalism: A Political-Economic Critique of Ecological Modernization Theory

Sociology as if Nature did not Matter: The Ontological Unconscious of U.S. Modern Sociological Theory


 
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