SOCI220-23S2 (C) Semester Two 2023

Environment and Society

15 points

Start Date: Monday, 17 July 2023
End Date: Sunday, 12 November 2023
Withdrawal Dates
Last Day to withdraw from this course:
  • Without financial penalty (full fee refund): Sunday, 30 July 2023
  • Without academic penalty (including no fee refund): Sunday, 1 October 2023


This course considers the relationship between ecology and environmental sociology, collective dilemmas, energy and society, the environment and politics and some other selected environmental issues.

The growing recognition of the reality and consequences of global environmental change poses a fundamental challenge to the ways we interact with the environment and each other, and places new demands on sociological thinking.  This course introduces conceptual tools for approaching environmental issues from the local to global level.  Case studies of human interaction with different aspects of the environment, from water quality to genetic engineering will explore contemporary issues.  Dominating our understanding of such issues and how we deal with them is the environmental movement.  Each phase of the course encourages us to consider how unequal social relationships interact with the biophysical ones in ways which may accentuate the problems of the marginalised.

All human activities have impacts on the biophysical environment and these, in turn, interact with the social world; sociological perspectives contribute to our understanding of this interaction and developing appropriate responses. All theories and themes will be discussed in light of New Zealand’s unique situation.

Learning Outcomes
1. Analyse seminal writing on the environment and trace its influence;
2. Critique programmes/policies for dealing with environmental issues;
3. Identify unequal access to environmental resources & use of environmental goals to promote individual/sectoral interests;
4. Extend use of the Internet to access resources on the environment and academic analysis;
5. Develop cooperative learning relationships with others in the class;
6. Fine tune skills in critical analysis, academic writing and referencing.

Soci220 and Sociology’s ‘Four Pillars’
A central concern of sociology is with the analysis of power, including its distribution and effects on social organisation, social institutions and people’s lived experience. The controversies and control pillar engages with a variety of debates relating to the nature of power in society.  Although the specific relationships between New Zealanders and their environment link to Time and Place, the severity of the current challenges to subsistence on the earth require prioritisation of power.


Any 15 points at 100 level from ANTH or SOCI, or
any 60 points at 100 level from the Schedule V of the BA.


SOCI230 (2005), SOCI320, SOCI330 (2005)

Timetable Note

2 hour workshops (Tutorial A) alternate with 1 hour tutorials (Tutorial B).

Course Coordinator

Catherine Phillips

Indicative Fees

Domestic fee $821.00

International fee $3,750.00

* All fees are inclusive of NZ GST or any equivalent overseas tax, and do not include any programme level discount or additional course-related expenses.

For further information see Language, Social and Political Sciences .

All SOCI220 Occurrences

  • SOCI220-23S2 (C) Semester Two 2023