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Social Theory and Sustainability

MESS32, 10 credits

The Social Theory and Sustainability course discusses different theories of modern society and relates them to different approaches to sustainability and environmental problems.

The course focuses on:

  • Theories of modern society and economy (e.g. Rousseau, Adam Smith, Marx, Hayek, Keynes, Habermas, Foucault, Feminist theories)
  • The complex interactions between different spheres of economy, politics and civil society when dealing with environmental questions as a social problem;
  • The tensions and trade-offs in the interactions between e.g. individual/ society, economy/ politics, cultural values/ technical efficiency, environment/ economy.
  • An overview of different philosophies of scientific knowledge (ontology and epistemology), empiricism, positivism, constructivism, critical realism; and the ability to identify and compare the underlying theory of science in each perspective.

Literature list

Literature list, established 2020-06-11 PDF (603 kB)


Note: From the autumn of 2022, this course will be replaced by MESS16 Social Sciences and Sustainability, 7.5 credits.


Great course, I had given up on political theory during my Bachelor's degree, but now I finally understand Gramsci, Habermas etc.!


Student, Batch 24