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x Social Theory and the Environment

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Year 3
Course Description

The aim of this course is to introduce students to a range of social theories that are currently of interest to critical human geographers and explore their implications for understanding environmental thought, practice and politics. Theoretical positions covered will include free market environmentalism, Marxist and feminist political ecologies, postcolonialism, poststructuralism, science studies, and ‘more-than-human’/post-humanist approaches. Illustrate the potential of social theory to comprehend and inform real world environmental issues – including biodiversity conservation, climate change, agriculture and food, genetic modification and public engagement in science and technology and for those students who have taken the (5S)SG2052 course enable them to consolidate and develop ideas.

For more information and to check that this course is still running, please contact Dr Debby Potts, Head of the SOAS Geography Programme (debby.potts@kcl.ac.uk).

Objectives and learning outcomes of the course

On completing this module students should be able to demonstrate that they have a sense of the potential and importance of social theory for addressing key geographical and environmental questions and have developed an overview of important debates between key theoretical positions; understand the genealogy and complexity of the terms ‘Nature’ and ‘natural’ and be equipped with an array of critical theoretical resources for interrogating the political work they do; recognise the importance of geographical concepts – such as space, place, scale and connection – for understanding contemporary environmental politics; have developed and deepened critical tools for exploring the culture and politics of Nature in diverse contemporary and historical media – including websites, film/video, newspapers, archives and other texts – and through personal observation and experience and are able to develop, summarise and articulate detailed, critical and original ideas through group work and class presentations.


12 lectures and 8 tutorials/seminar

Method of assessment

Assessment will be by assessed essay (60% of the final grade) and by presentation and chairing group discussion (40% of the final grade).