Sociology for Survival: a view from the Global South

If humanity is to survive, the future will be organized along eco-feminist-socialist lines. In this future, an altered relationship between society and nature will be a central characteristic.

Photo: Climate March in Durban, Oxfam, CC BY-NC-DC 2.0

Re-visioning ‘Nature’

My starting point is that we are part of nature in the air we breathe, the water we drink and the food we eat. However ‘nature’, as Raymond Williams has suggested, is “perhaps the most complex word in the (English) language”. Its meanings are always unstable and contested. It is variously understood as “natural capital”(as in the extreme version of the green economy) or as a repository of rights, as in the indigenous Andean perspective in which nature is valued for itself, or as simply a store of resources. But a consensus is emerging that the nature –society relation is in crisis: that we have reached the limit of using nature as a sink for our waste products and simply as a source of raw materials for economic activity. Continue reading