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The Social Metabolism

A Socio-Ecological Theory of Historical Change

  • Manuel González de Molina
  • Víctor M. Toledo

Part of the Environmental History book series (ENVHIS, volume 3)

Table of contents

  1. Front Matter
    Pages i-xxiv
  2. Manuel González de Molina, Víctor M Toledo
    Pages 1-7
  3. Manuel González de Molina, Víctor M Toledo
    Pages 9-42
  4. Manuel González de Molina, Víctor M. Toledo
    Pages 43-58
  5. Manuel González de Molina, Víctor M. Toledo
    Pages 59-85
  6. Manuel González de Molina, Víctor M Toledo
    Pages 87-106
  7. Manuel González de Molina, Víctor M Toledo
    Pages 107-114
  8. Manuel González de Molina, Víctor M. Toledo
    Pages 115-132
  9. Manuel González de Molina, Víctor M. Toledo
    Pages 133-143
  10. Manuel González de Molina, Víctor M Toledo
    Pages 145-153
  11. Manuel González de Molina, Víctor M Toledo
    Pages 155-196
  12. Manuel González de Molina, Víctor M. Toledo
    Pages 197-253
  13. Manuel González de Molina, Víctor M. Toledo
    Pages 255-295
  14. Manuel González de Molina, Víctor M. Toledo
    Pages 297-332
  15. Manuel González de Molina, Víctor M. Toledo
    Pages 333-349
  16. Back Matter
    Pages 351-355

About this book

Introduction

Today, the most notable feature of the modern world is the growing concern for the future, since human society is immersed in a “giant, uncontrolled experiment” (McNeill, 2000), which it has caused, where natural and social processes are connected in an unprecedented way, generating new unpredictable and surprising dynamics and synergies that are threatening the human species, planetary equilibrium and the whole of life itself. Faced with the above situation, science as a whole is compelled to look back in order to learn from the past (lessons), and to adopt a rigorous historical perspective that will provide a thorough understanding of current situations from a socio-ecological perspective, capable of orchestrating interdisciplinary research into relations between society and nature.

Over this last decade, the concept of social metabolism has gained prestige as a theoretical instrument for the required analysis, to such an extent that there are now dozens of researchers, hundreds of articles and several books that have adopted and use this concept. However, there is a great deal of variety in terms of definitions and interpretations, as well as different methodologies around this concept, which prevents the consolidation of a unified field of new knowledge. The fundamental aim of the book is to conduct a review of the past and present usage of the concept of social metabolism, its origins and history, as well as the main currents or schools that exist around this concept. At the same time, the reviews and discussions included are used by the authors as starting points to draw conclusions and propose a theory of socio-ecological transformations.      

The theoretical and methodological innovations of this book include: a. the rigorous definition of a basic model for the process of social metabolism; b. the distinction of two types of metabolic processes: tangible and intangible; c. detailed discussion regarding the concept of nature appropriation; d. analysis of the social metabolism at different scales (spatial dimension); e. historical analysis of the social metabolism (temporal dimension and socio-ecological change); f. overcoming the merely “systemic” or “cybernetic” nature of approaches, giving protagonism to collective action; and consequence and explanation of the above: g. integration of an ethical and political dimension to the theory.

Keywords

Ecological Economics Environmental History Environmental Sociology Political Ecology Sustainability Science

Authors and affiliations

  • Manuel González de Molina
    • 1
  • Víctor M. Toledo
    • 2
  1. 1.Geografía, Historia y FilosofíaUniversidad Pablo de OlavideSevillaSpain
  2. 2.UNAM Campus MoreliaCentro de Investigaciones en EcosistemasMoreliaMexico

Bibliographic information

  • DOI https://doi.org/10.1007/978-3-319-06358-4
  • Copyright Information Springer International Publishing Switzerland 2014
  • Publisher Name Springer, Cham
  • eBook Packages Earth and Environmental Science
  • Print ISBN 978-3-319-06357-7
  • Online ISBN 978-3-319-06358-4
  • Series Print ISSN 2211-9019
  • Series Online ISSN 2211-9027
  • Buy this book on publisher's site