SHE Level 2
SCQF Credit Points 20.00
ECTS Credit Points 10.00
Module Code M2K423966
Module Leader Charles Russell
School School of Computing, Engineering and Built Environment
Subject Civil Engineering and Environmental Management
  • A (September start)-B (January start)
  • A (September start)

Summary of Content

Society, Politics and Sustainability, focuses on the interactions between society, humanity and the natural world. The module introduces the role of environmental (green) politics, environmental sociology and deepens the role of society, politics and how the issue of sustainability is communicated and realised in the modern world. Also covered are is the prevailing societal issues of environmental justice, the emerging issue of climate justice and themes that evoke behavioural change, the role of social marketing, behavioural change, community engagement and the influents of Civil Society Organisations and Non-governmental Organisations in engendering transformational shifts in attitudes and the appearance of the issue to societies around the world.


The syllabus will include consideration of the following areas: The following themes will be covered in the module- -360b7 Environmental concepts and Definitions, - a theoretical considerations of humanity's relationship to nature which will explore the subjects of deep ecology, ecologism, eco-feminism, eco-socialism, environmental ethics, anthropocentrism. The development of environmental sociology. b7 The growth of environmental movement- charting the rise of the agenda and organisations (political parties, NGO's and CSO's). b7 Problems of consumption, natural resources including deforestation and issue such as urban sprawl and transport, waste pollution, environmental degradation and population growth. b7 The development and growth of Green Politics and the links between environment and health, Equity, Environmental Justice, Climate Justice and Prospects for a sustainable future. b7 All of these areas will be underpinned by generic sustainability thinking: triple bottom line.

Learning Outcomes

On successful completion of this module students should be able to:1. Demonstrate an understanding of fundamental concepts in sustainable development.2. Appreciate the role of these concepts in understanding environmental and social problems in urban settings.3. Develop an appreciation of the environmental and societal constraints of the built environment on economic growth and development.The course has several key learning outcomes:1) it provides students with an awareness and understanding of the shifting manner in which environmental problems are conceptualised;2) it enables students to understand the impact and relevance of environmental ethics; 3) it provides them with the ability to recognise the manner in which environmental thinking informs, and is in turn informed by, existing political ideologies;4) it furnishes them with an understanding of key concepts in environmental economics, such as sustainable development and ecological modernisation5) it provides students with an understanding of how environmental thinking manifests itself politically in agents for social change, such as interest groups and political parties.

Teaching / Learning Strategy

The learning teaching and assessment strategy for this module includes the use of lectures, student centred seminars, tutorials, presentations, site visits and surveys. In many of the syllabus areas the content will be enhanced by examining a variety of case study examples from both Scotland and other parts of the United Kingdom, Europe and the rest of the world. The use of local, national and International cases will complement the theoretical development of the material. The mix of social, economic and environmental issues will raise the questions of sustainability and provide an insight into the need for inter-disciplinary approaches and selection of options rather than directing solutions. Learning and teaching strategies will be developed and implemented, appropriate to students' needs, to enable all students to participate fully in the programme. The assessment provides the students with a range of opportunities to develop their knowledge and understanding and demonstrate this in formal examination as well as course work. The examination ensures that all learning outcomes are addressed while the course work provides in-depth study of particular topical areas relevant to the module.

Indicative Reading

Beyond the Limits, Meadows D., 1992 The Affluent Society, Galbraith J. K., 1958 Environment Scotland, Prospects For Sustainability, Ed. McDowell ad McCormick, 1999. An Introduction to Sustainable Development, Rogers P et al., 2008 The Principles of Sustainability, Dresner S., 2002 Understanding Sustainable Development, Blewitt J., 2008 Our Common Future - Brundtland Report Bromley, Daniel W.(2002) Economics, ethics and environmental policy: contested choices. Blackwell Oxford. DesJardins, Joseph R. (1997) Environmental ethics : an introduction to environmental philosophy Sustainable Urban Development Reader, Wheeler S, Beatley T, Routledge 2008 Current journal articles: Jickling, Bob. (2001) Environmental Thought, the Language of Sustainability, and Digital Watches. Environmental Education Research. 7 (2).P.167-180 Electronic resources: Government sources Encyclopedia of Sustainable Development Development Development Studies World Bank Meadows D., (1992) Beyond the Limits, Galbraith J. K., (1958) The Affluent Society McDowell ad McCormick (eds) (1999).Environment Scotland, Prospects For Sustainability, Rogers P et al., (2008) An Introduction to Sustainable Development, Dresner S., (2002) The Principles of Sustainability Blewitt J., (2008) Understanding Sustainable Development, Our Common Future - Brundtland Report Bromley, Daniel W. (2002) Economics, ethics and environmental policy: contested choices. Blackwell Oxford DesJardins, Joseph R. (1997) Environmental ethics: an introduction to environmental philosophy Wheeler S., Beatley T., Routledge (2008) Sustainable Urban Development Reader. Barry, J. (1999) Rethinking Green Politics (London: Sage). Carter, N. (2007) The Politics of the Environment, 2nd Edition (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press). Davidson, S. (2007) 'The Troubled Marriage of Deep Ecology and Bioregionalism', Environmental Values , Vol. 16(3): 313-332 Davidson, S. (2009) 'Ecoanarchism: A Critical Defence', Journal of Political Ideologies , Vol. 14 (1): 47-67. Davidson, S. (2012) 'The Insuperable Imperative: A Critique of the Ecologically Modernizing State', Capitalism Nature Socialism , Vol. 23(2): 31-50. Dobson, A. (2007) Green Political Thought, 4th Edition (London: Routledge). Dobson, A. and Eckersley, R. (eds.) (2006) Political Theory and the Ecological Challenge (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press). Dobson, A. and Lucardie, P (1993) The Politics of Nature (London: Routledge). Eckersley, E. (1992) Environmentalism and Political Theory: Towards an Ecocentric Approach (London: UCL Press). Eckersley, E. (2004) The Green State: Rethinking Democracy and Sovereignty (London: MIT Press). Goodin, R. E. (1992) Green Political Theory (Cambridge: Polity Press). Hajer, M. (1995) The Politics of Environmental Discourse: Ecological Modernization and the Policy Process (Oxford: Oxford University Press). Kovel, J. (2007) The Enemy of Nature, 2nd Edition (London: Zed Books). Lafferty, W. M. and Meadowcroft, J. (1996) Democracy and the Environment: Problems and Prospects (Cheltenham: Edward Elgar). Light, A. and Rolston III, H. (eds.) (2003) Environmental Ethics: An Anthology (London: Blackwell). Mol, A. P. J. and Sonnenfeld, D. A. (eds.) (2000) Ecological Modernisation Around the World: Perspectives and Critical Debates (London: Frank Cass). O'Connor, J. (1998) Natural Causes: Essays in Ecological Marxism (New York: Guilford Press). O'Connor, M. (ed.) (1994) Is Capitalism Sustainable? (New York: Guilford Press). Online sources: Various journals, including Environmental Politics, Environmental Values, Environmental Ethics, the Journal of Political Ideologies and Political Studies

Transferrable Skills

Handling of complexity, awareness of differing perspectives. Presentation of logical argument. Use of digital technologies The capacity to execute set tasks and in doing so manage time and personal organisation effectively. Written and oral communication skills Critical thinking and analysis

Module Structure

Activity Total Hours
Assessment (FT) 36.00
Lectures (FT) 24.00
Independent Learning (FT) 116.00
Tutorials (FT) 12.00
Seminars (FT) 12.00

Assessment Methods

Component Duration Weighting Threshold Description
Course Work 02 n/a 50.00 35% Design and Implement Social Media campaign around sustainable behaviour
Course Work 01 n/a 50.00 35% Blog on Sustainable development issues in Society prevail and how they are being addressed and framed