Sustainable development

Sustainable development

Tom R Burns Uppsala University, Sweden

abstract This article provides an overview of sustainable development from a sociological perspective. It is divided into three parts. Part I presents selected relevant sociological research from before there was ever a concept of ‘sustainable development’. The focus here is on work falling under the rubrics of environmental sociology as well as development sociology. Part II briefly discusses the context and process that led to conceptualizing ‘sustainable development’. Part III considers the response of several sociology theories to sustainable development issues, with the focus on a selection of four major system theories: world systems theory, neo-Marxist ‘treadmill of production’ theory, ecological modernization theory and modern systems theory, all of which have addressed development issues and eventually sustainability questions. 

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