Module Details

BS704-7-AU-CO: Politics And Society

Note: This module is inactive. Visit the Module Directory to view modules and variants offered during the current academic year.

Year: 2017/18
Department: Biological Sciences (School of)
Essex credit: 15
ECTS credit: 7.5
Available to Study Abroad / Exchange Students: No
Full Year Module Available to Study Abroad / Exchange Students for a Single Term: No
Outside Option: No

Supervisor: Professor Ian Colbeck, Dr Rachel Bragg
Teaching Staff: Professor Ted Benton, Dr Carlos Gigoux, Graham Walker
Contact details: School Graduate Office, email: bsgradtaught (Non essex users should add to create a full email address)

Module is taught during the following terms
Autumn Spring Summer

Module Description

The aim of this course is to provide students, especially those whose backgrounds are mainly within the natural or physical sciences, with a good understanding of the contribution that social and political scientists can make to the environmental agenda. In doing so, this introductory course accepts that any successful approach to these issues must cut across rigid boundaries between disciplines.

In the case of some key environmental issues such as climate change and loss of biological diversity there is now a widely shared understanding of both the causes and the urgency of the problems. However, there appears to be little if any serious progress in implementing solutions. Why is this Social scientists to not always agree on the reasons, but in recent decades they have developed valuable, if always controversial, insights into both the causes of environmental degradation and the social and political responses to it. This course offers an introduction to some of these ideas, and to the controversy surrounding them.

Learning Outcomes

1. understand the contribution that social and political scientists can make to the environmental agenda;
2. discuss the relationship between human societies and their natural environments;
3. explain the social relationships and dynamics involved in the production and consumption of goods;
4. discuss the nature of international agreements and the obstacles in the way of their meeting their aspirations;
5. describe methods to involve public participation in environmental standard setting.

Learning and Teaching Methods


100 per cent Coursework Mark


3,500 word essay


  • Individual readings are given for each lecture

Further information