The Social Metabolism

Environmental History

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Over this last decade, the concept of Social Metabolism has gained prestige as a theoretical instrument for the required analysis, to such an extent that there are now dozens of researchers, hundreds of articles and several books that have adopted and use this concept. However, there is a great deal of variety in terms of definitions and interpretations, as well as different methodologies around this concept, which prevents the consolidation of a unified field of new knowledge. The fundamental aim of the book is to conduct a review of the past and present usage of the concept of social metabolism, its origins and history, as well as the main currents or schools that exist around this concept. At the same time, the reviews and discussions included are used by the authors as starting points to draw conclusions and propose a theory of socio-ecological transformations.

The theoretical and methodological innovations of this book include a distinction of two types of metabolic processes: tangible and intangible; the analysis of the social metabolism at different scales (in space and time) and a theory of socio-ecological change overcoming the merely “systemic” or “cybernetic” nature of conventional approaches, giving special protagonism to collective action.

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Additional Information

Publisher
Springer
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Published on
Jun 30, 2014
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Pages
355
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ISBN
9783319063584
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Language
English
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Genres
Business & Economics / Development / Sustainable Development
Business & Economics / Economics / General
Business & Economics / Environmental Economics
History / General
Science / Environmental Science
Social Science / Anthropology / General
Social Science / Sociology / General
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This content is DRM protected.
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This book is the product of the 2nd World Conference on Environmental History, held in Guimarães, Portugal, in 2014. It gathers works by authors from the five continents, addressing concerns raised by past events so as to provide information to help manage the present and the future. It reveals how our cultural background and examples of past territorial intervention can help to combat political and cultural limitations through the common language of environmental benefits without disguising harmful past human interventions.

Considering that political ideologies such as socialism and capitalism, as well as religion, fail to offer global paradigms for common ground, an environmentally positive discourse instead of an ecological determinism might serve as an umbrella common language to overcome blocking factors, real or invented, and avoid repeating ecological loss.

Therefore, agency, environmental speech and historical research are urgently needed in order to sustain environmental paradigms and overcome political, cultural an economic interests in the public arena.

This book intertwines reflections on our bonds with landscapes, processes of natural and scientific transfer across the globe, the changing of ecosystems, the way in which scientific knowledge has historically both accelerated destruction and allowed a better distribution of vital resources or as it, in today’s world, can offer alternatives that avoid harming those same vital natural resources: water, soil and air. In addition, it shows the relevance of cultural factors both in the taming of nature in favor of human comfort and in the role of the environment matters in the forging of cultural identities, which cannot be detached from technical intervention in the world.

In short, the book firstly studies the past, approaching it as a data set of how the environment has shaped culture, secondly seeks to understand the present, and thirdly assesses future perspectives: what to keep, what to change, and what to dream anew, considering that conventional solutions have not sufficed to protect life on our planet.

This book is the product of the 2nd World Conference on Environmental History, held in Guimarães, Portugal, in 2014. It gathers works by authors from the five continents, addressing concerns raised by past events so as to provide information to help manage the present and the future. It reveals how our cultural background and examples of past territorial intervention can help to combat political and cultural limitations through the common language of environmental benefits without disguising harmful past human interventions.

Considering that political ideologies such as socialism and capitalism, as well as religion, fail to offer global paradigms for common ground, an environmentally positive discourse instead of an ecological determinism might serve as an umbrella common language to overcome blocking factors, real or invented, and avoid repeating ecological loss.

Therefore, agency, environmental speech and historical research are urgently needed in order to sustain environmental paradigms and overcome political, cultural an economic interests in the public arena.

This book intertwines reflections on our bonds with landscapes, processes of natural and scientific transfer across the globe, the changing of ecosystems, the way in which scientific knowledge has historically both accelerated destruction and allowed a better distribution of vital resources or as it, in today’s world, can offer alternatives that avoid harming those same vital natural resources: water, soil and air. In addition, it shows the relevance of cultural factors both in the taming of nature in favor of human comfort and in the role of the environment matters in the forging of cultural identities, which cannot be detached from technical intervention in the world.

In short, the book firstly studies the past, approaching it as a data set of how the environment has shaped culture, secondly seeks to understand the present, and thirdly assesses future perspectives: what to keep, what to change, and what to dream anew, considering that conventional solutions have not sufficed to protect life on our planet.

Bioinvasions is a current top research subject for natural sciences, social sciences and humanities and a major concern for conservationists, land managers and planners. In the last decades, new findings, perspectives and practices have revealed the multifaceted challenges of preventing new introductions and dealing with those invasive species that harm natural ecosystems, economy and human welfare.

This book brings together environmental historians and natural scientists to share their studies and experiences on the human dimensions of biological invasions from the ancient past to the current challenges. The collection of papers focuses on the Mediterranean region and deals with aquatic and terrestrial ecosystems on the mainland and islands, ranging from marine and freshwater environments to coastal marshlands and forests. A wide diversity of animals and plants are featured, from marine fishes to marine and freshwater crustaceans, invertebrates, reptiles and amphibians, birds and mammals, to grasses, shrubs and trees. This book is a contribution to the scientific debate on how to deal with the historical dimensions of biological invasions, fostering dialogue between cultural and ecological explanations of environmental change, to inform environmental policy and management.

It has been organized in three sections: the first is the editors’ introduction, in which they review the existing literature and highlight relevant concepts and ideas; the second is about alien species in the Mediterranean region; the third includes cases from other Mediterranean-type regions.

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