Analyse the way a theory about the way biophysical and social,
cultural, political, economic processes (theory about ìreal worldî
context) interacts with these ìreal worldî contexts to produce
potential/ actual environmental futures.
Select one of the following articles:
Catton W R & Dunlap R E 1978, ëEnvironmental sociology: a new
paradigmí, The American Sociologist, vol. 13, pp. 41-49.
Gould, K A, Pellow, D N & Schnaiberg, A 2004, ëInterrogating the
treadmill of production: everything you wanted to know
about the treadmill but were afraid to askí, Organization &
Environment, vol. 17, no. 3, pp. 296-316.
Spaargaren, G, and Mol, A, 1992, ëSociology, Environment and
Modernityí Society and Natural Resources 5, 323-344.
Outline your chosen theory
Supplement the article with your own research to improve your
understanding where needed
What was the ìreal worldî context in which your chosen article
was written? Identify this from the writing of the author,
commentaries on the article by others, or by examining histories of
the development of environmental awareness and ìreal worldî
events. Did the article seem to respond to this context?
Do people still cite/read this article? Has it been very
influential? Sources might be the writing of the author reflecting
on the response to the article, or commentaries on the article by
others. A review article or a dictionary/encyclopedia of
environmental sociology or similar will be a good starting point.
See the Cited Reference Search instructions ñ Learn ñ this page
Soci 220 Page 2
· To become familiar with the general theories about human relationships with the
· To understand the interaction of ideas and the ìmaterialî world.
· To demonstrate your knowledge about contemporary issues.
· To develop your own ideas using social science theories as tools to help you understand
your own society.
· To develop your library search skills.
· To improve your ability to understand academic writing.
· To develop critical and analytical skills.
Use academic sources, preferably academic journals for the body of the essay, but you may
supplement these sources in your description of relevant ìreal worldî context. One important
aspect of scholarship is to distinguish among academic sources, like academic journals and
academic books, and non-academic sources, like newspaper and magazine articles, generalaudience
books and most websites in terms of quality of analysis and reliability. You may well
come across websites that provide interesting and useful ëstepping stonesí along the way of
researching any topic, but they should be cross referenced to ensure your sources are
authoritative. For example, Wikipedia entries should never appear in the reference list of any
academic work; although you may well visit Wikipedia pages to find references to valid
academic sources, which you then can use. Sometimes, newsprint or websites may provide
evidence that supports research (e.g. the website of a particular UN agency when researching the
institutional definitions of concepts like ësustainable developmentí) and they can be used and
then must, of course, be referenced.
The length of the essay should be 2,000 words.
The title page must contain the title of your essay (you should create one to reflect the final
content of your essay), your name and your student ID number
The text must be typed (prefer 12 pt font).
The text must be double-spaced and page-numbered.
Any work done by others must be fully cited.
You are encouraged to use the Harvard citation and bibliographic style See guides to this format
in the library or the UC Library web. http://library.canterbury.ac.nz/services/ref/harvard.shtml
Please check the Schoolís policy on Dishonest Practice and use an assignment cover sheet from
the Learn site.
Due Dates and Extensions
You should plan your work in advance so that you can meet deadlines. No assignment will be
accepted without penalty after the deadline unless sufficient evidence is provided to substantiate
a valid reason for extension. 5% will be taken off the mark for every day the assignment is late
without an extension. The same penalties will apply to essays with extension that are submitted
after the date of an extension.
Soci 220 Page 3
A Grades: Assignments will have (1) responded fully to the assignment (2) presented their
argument clearly and persuasively (3) provided adequate supporting arguments, evidence,
examples and details (4) submitted material that is well organised and unified (5) used language
that is appropriate and free of errors (6) maintained a level of excellence throughout and (7)
shown originality and creativity in realising (1) through (5).
B Grades achieve (1) through (5) completely and demonstrate a good understanding of the
central issues but lacks originality or creativity
C Grades achieve (1) through (5) adequately and demonstrate competence but contains some
errors or omissions.
Develop the research project
· Consider the strengths and weaknesses of your chosen concept.
· You need articles by sociologists or people from related disciplines which will help you
critique the theoretical framework in your article. Use your library including the text
carefully, you will not find enough backing for your argument using just the resources on
Learn for this assignment. If you have a text you would like to be accessible though High
Demand, let me know and I can have it transferred there.
· Construct your argument – for general advice about essay writing see the Learning Skills
Centre or any of the useful books on this topic in the library. I am happy to advise on how
your project might be developed further once you are under way e.g. by looking at essay
· Say why you think this topic is important in the introduction.
· Check out whether there are writers who disagree with your point of view. Make sure that
there are no obvious holes in your argument. Donít make claims you canít support.
· Donít try and cover everything that was ever written on the topic, go for depth.
· Keep signposting how your argument is developing – when you introduce a new topic and
finish with it, write a sentence that helps relate your message to the overall argument.
· Your conclusion should provide a summary of the role of your chosen article in terms of
understanding and dealing with environmental issues from its inception to the present day,
or say why you had unexpected problems doing this. Now is the time to bring various
points together, or even speculate on new horizons your theoristsí work is opening up