Revistes Catalanes amb Accés Obert (RACO)

A passion for environmental sociology. Exploring links between social environmental sciences, interdisciplinary integration and sustainability with Professor Riley E. Dunlap

Joan David Tàbara, Daniel Polo


Professor Riley E. has been one of the «founding fathers» and still is one of the most outstanding academics of contemporary environmental sociology. In fact, it is not possible to understand the development of this discipline, which now extends over three decades, without understanding his contribution. In this research note, we use an approach which combines biographical, historical and personal aspects to underline some of the most important hallmarks of his professional career and we transcribe the content of an interview carried out in May 2004 at IEST-UAB, Barcelona. We use this dialogical narrative tool to further understand broader critical issues such as the role of social science in sustainability science and the possible evolution of environmental sociology towards an ecological sociology. The difficulties encountered by environmental sociology in its process of institutionalisation are to a large extent also representative of the power inequalities, dysfunctions and resistances of the existing systems of the production of environmental and sustainability knowledge with «scientific authority» that limit the emergence of innovative interdisciplinary and integrative approaches which include the insights from social sciences.

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