Sociological Perspectives on Global Climate Change

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Sociological Perspectives on Global Climate Change

Sociological Perspectives on Global Climate Change On May 30-31, 2008, a workshop on Sociological Perspectives on Global Climate Change was held at NSF in Arlington, Virginia. The workshop was funded by an NSF grant from the Sociology Program to Drs. Joane Nagel, University of Kansas; Jeffrey Broadbent, University of Minnesota; and Thomas Dietz, Michigan State University.

Sociological Perspectives on Global Climate Change

Sociological Perspectives on Global Climate Change

The purpose of the workshop was threefold: identify ways to 1) increase sociology’s capacity to conduct climate change research, 2) motivate research that contributes solutions to a global problem of historical importance, and 3) expand sociological participation in interdisciplinary research and education about global climate change.

Workshop participants were asked to answer two questions in their short papers and workshop deliberations: What is the state of sociological research on global climate change? What are the major research questions that sociologists should be asking and seeking to answer about climate change?

The workshop was intended to contribute to advancing sociological research on global climate change, and thus to advancing the research capacity, tools, and infrastructure in the social sciences. This report is organized into four sections; the first three parallel the organization of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change 2007 Fourth Assessment Report’s Summary for Policymakers1 which identifies causes, impacts, and mitigation and adaptation strategies for climate change.

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Part I outlines the current state of sociological knowledge and opportunities for future research about the social causes of global climate change; several theoretical and empirical research areas in sociology are referenced both for the knowledge they have already generated and for their potential to contribute to further research on the causes of climate change: global political economy, human ecology and environmental impact models, cultural and meaning systems, macro-comparative policy research, social organization of science and science policy.

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