Climate change, capitalism, and growth

Climate change, capitalism, and growth

Current Issue | Vol 22, No 3 | July 2021 | Download (PDF)
Anita Engels
Welcome to the third and last issue of this Newsletter on economic sociology and climate change. The past months have been very exciting for someone who is interested in the fate of the Paris climate goals. An increasing number of countries and companies have declared so-called net-zero emissions, carbon neutrality or climate neutrality targets by the year 2050, 2040, or even 2030. In addition, study after study tends to show how these goals can actually still be achieved, even though time is almost up.
Ian Gray and Stephanie Barral
This Newsletter series argues that climate change is an increasingly global force of social change and, as such, deserves more attention from economic sociologists. It has made the case through interviews with established scholars (Hoffman 2020; Sovacool 2020; Pulver 2020) and short articles on current, climate-centered economic sociology, including the contested role of markets in mitigating emissions (Ehrenstein and Valiergue 2021), the thorny problem of sorting out who deserves compensation for climate damage (Elliott 2021), and the value of crises in creating openings for new modes of collective action (Ergen and Suckert 2021).
Matthew Soener
The outlook on climate change is bleak. Warming effects from greenhouse gases mean rising sea levels, increased storms, droughts, wildfires, and other stresses to the Earth system. This means risks to our food supply, further species loss, and threats to coastal populations. Indirectly it means sociopolitical pressures in an already fragile context. Society’s most vulnerable are already primary targets. And, if Covid-19 isn’t grim enough, the combination of surface-level temperature increases combined with human- animal contact from deforestation and industrial farming will spawn more “zoonotic” infectious diseases.
Milena Buchs interviewed by Anita Engels
You are at home in the worlds of sociology and economics. What makes this connection interesting for you?
After my PhD, I switched from broader social sciences to environmental social sciences, but within that I very much needed to understand ecological economics. I had to speedily read a lot from ecological economics and the issues that are highlighted in this field. When I studied at the Free University Berlin, sociology was my main subject, but economics and political science were my minor subjects. That helped a lot. I was always very interested in the role of inequality, social structure – and economics gave me an additional perspective on that, to understand how social structures of inequality relate to the distribution of resources.
Achim Oberg, Lianne Lefsrud, and Renate Meyer
We are in crisis mode. Climate change is simultaneously the grandest global challenge and a daily challenge to individuals’ perceptions, motivations, and actions. Economic sociology equips us to examine the heart of this crisis: the means, institutions, and regulations of production, exchange, and consumption. To complement this, we must have theoretical and methodological approaches that simultaneously bridge these macro-global and micro-actor levels. The aim of our article is to propose a research agenda for examining climate change from a field perspective to serve as this bridge.
Nils Brunsson and Mats Jutterström (eds.) · 2018
Organizing and Reorganizing Markets
Oxford: Oxford University Press
Reviewer: Sandra Renou

Nicholas Abercrombie · 2020
Commodification and Its Discontents
Cambridge: Polity Presss
Reviewer: Marta Olcoń-Kubick

Matías Dewey · 2020
Making It at Any Cost: Aspirations and Politics in a Counterfeit Clothing Market
Austin: Texas University Press
Reviewer: Jerónimo Montero Bressán

Rebecca Elliott · 2021
Underwater: Loss, Flood Insurance and the Moral Economy of Climage Change in the United States
New York: Columbia University Press
Reviewer: Arjen van der Heide

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