People and the natural environments in which they live fundamentally structure communities around the globe. Economic change, expanding development, and human migration are transforming social and environmental conditions in both rural and urban settings, altering the identities of many communities as well as their relationships with the natural world. The importance of these emerging social and environmental issues has made them a focus for social science inquiry. This course exposes students to a range of sociological concepts, theories, and research approaches related to the study of communities and environmental issues. Some of the substantive themes that are covered include: population dynamics and environmental change; social capital and social networks; political economy and community development; collective action and social movements; science, technology, and environmental risks; and environmental racism and justice. The principal assignment for the course will be a research project where students investigate a community or environmental issue of their own interest.
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