ASOK22206U Sociological Perspectives on the Green transitions

Volume 2022/2023
Education

MA elective course

Course package (MSc 2015):

Welfare, inequality and mobility
Knowledge, organisation and politics
Culture, lifestyle and everyday life

Content

This course provides students with the conceptual tools needed to understand, analyze, as well as critically and constructively engage with ongoing societal transformations induced by climate change, biodiversity and other ecological crises, colloquially known as green transition. It builds on scholarship and meso-level theories founded in environmental and climate sociology, branching also into other literatures to ask foundational questions about society-wide change towards sustainability: how much of it is currently happening across societal sectors, domains, and levels; how has it or is it currently being brought about; what shapes, conditions, or hampers more of it? To pose these questions in macro-sociologically adequate terms, the course starts by reviewing debates on two contrasting diagnoses: the risk society diagnosis of Ulrich Beck and the ecological modernization diagnosis of Maarten Hajer, John Dryzek and others. At stake here is the questions of the place of environmental concern, policy, and practice in reworking (late) modernity. From here, the course delves into the main institutional vectors of green social change, covering in turn questions of:

a) socio-technical change (green technological innovation, changing infrastructures);

b) political-economic change (shifting modes of governance and politics, new circular market models);

c) mobilization-driven change (environmental social movements, urban green communities);

d) changing North-South relations (new globalized inequalities, climate justice activism);

e) everyday practice change (emerging consumptions habits, new social distinctions and divisions);

f) cultural value change (continuity and change in moral valuations of ‘nature’ in the Anthropocene).

Throughout, focus is on understanding present-day green social change in light of historical experience and meso-level sociological theory, with a view to taking stock of what near-future changes lie ahead. Alongside examining the various substantive dimensions of green transition, we will also discuss adequate methodological strategies affiliated with the different problem complexes and vectors of social change. Throughout, students work on aligning analytical and methodological strategies via case analyses.

Learning Outcome

On successful completion of the course, the student is able to:

Knowledge:

  • account for the central concepts, theories, and empirical tendencies and analyses regarding social aspects of green transition, as covered in the course syllabus

 

Skills:

  • identify and discuss strengths and weaknesses in how the approaches introduced in the curriculum facilitate analysis of different social aspects of past, present, and on-coming green transition processes
  • describe and analyse concrete empirical phenomena (cases) related to green transition in contemporary societies
  • select appropriate concepts, theories, and empirical insights pertaining to uncertain and contested aspects of green transition
  • assess the strength and weaknesses of the different approached covered in the course syllabus in relation to concrete dimensions of the green transition

 

Competences:

  • convincingly present sociological concepts, theories, and analyses related to green transition in an appropriate format, via concrete case studies
  • critically discuss strengths and weaknesses of own work on topics related to the green transition, starting from the content of the course syllabus

A reading package consisting of introductory texts and research papers will be provided for the course, including Diane Stuart, 2021, What is Environmental Sociology

Participants are expected to have at least two years of undergraduate training in social science or the equivalent thereof, providing similar knowledge of sociological theory and social scientific methodology.
The course will combine lectures, class discussions, student presentations and peer-feedback workshops. A number of guest lecturers engaged in various practices related to green transition will be invited, and the course may possibly involve one or more site visits (where relevant).
  • Category
  • Hours
  • Lectures
  • 56
  • Preparation
  • 200
  • Project work
  • 86
  • Exam Preparation
  • 70
  • Total
  • 412
Oral
Peer feedback (Students give each other feedback)

Throughout the course, peer-feedback workshops provide students with assistance in selecting and evaluating their exam-related case studies. In these workshops, instructors will provide additional, overall feedback on students’ case work.

 

Towards the end, a ‘mini-conference’ is held in which course instructors and fellow students will provide feed-back on student presentations in preparation of the final, integrative leg of the portfolio exam

Credit
15 ECTS
Type of assessment
Portfolio
Type of assessment details
Individual or group. A portfolio assignment is defined as a series of short assignments during the course that address one or more set questions and feedback is offered during the course. All of the assignments are submitted together for assessment at the end of the course. The portfolio assignments must be no longer than 10 pages. For group assignments, an extra 5 pages is added per additional student. Further details for this exam form can be found in the Curriculum and in the General Guide to Examinations at KUnet.
Exam registration requirements

Sociology students must be enrolled under MSc Curriculum 2015 to take this exam.
Credit students must be at master level.

Aid
All aids allowed
Marking scale
7-point grading scale
Censorship form
No external censorship
Exam period

Find more information on your study page at KUnet.

Exchange students and Danish full degree guest students please see the homepage of Sociology; http://www.soc.ku.dk/english/education/exams/ and http://www.soc.ku.dk/uddannelser/meritstuderende/eksamen/

Re-exam

Individual/group.

A written take-home essay is defined as an assignment that addresses one or more questions. The exam is based on the course syllabus, i.e. the literature set by the teacher. The written take-home essay must be no longer than 10 pages. For group assignments, an extra 5 pages is added per additional student. Further details for this exam form can be found in the Curriculum and in the General Guide to Examinations at KUnet.

Criteria for exam assesment

Please see the learning outcome