• Summary
  • Contents
  • Subject index

Volatile Places: A Sociology of Communities and Environmental Controversies is a thoughtful guide to the spirited public controversies that inevitably occur when environments and human communities collide. The movie "An Inconvenient Truth" based on the environmental activism of Al Gore and the devastation of Hurricane Katrina are specifically highlighted. Authors Valerie Gunter and Steve Kroll-Smith begin with a simple observation and offer a provocative case study approach to the investigation of community and environmental controversies.

When Environments and Communities Collide
When environments and communities collide

Writing in 1982, sociologist William Catton made this case for the intersection of environments and communities:

There can be no exclusively human community. … The phrase “human community,” therefore, should always be regarded as a shorthand for a biotic community dominated by humans.1

Twenty-three years later, a younger sociologist, Michael Bell, echoed and expanded on Catton's observation:

We need … to make the study of community the central task of environmental sociology. Ecology is often described as the study of natural communities. Sociology is often described as the study of human communities. Environmental sociology is the study of both together, the single commons of the Earth we humans share, sometimes grudgingly, with others—other people, other forms of life, and ...

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