Is there a limit to social theory effectiveness? Environment as a possible way of reshaping sociology
Sociology Ladyss-CNRS / Paris Ouest University Nanterre, France
The environmental question of the XXth and XXIst century has followed to the XVIIIth and XIXth century political and economical questions. This transformation can be seen through actual political challenges, as global environmental changes, and the general increase of environmental questions in social, economic and media sphere. Thus, what is the capacity of sociology to challenge this question, in which terms, and what is the finality of such an attempt?
Indeed, recent European theorists, as Giddens, Beck, Luhmann, Touraine or also Latour, Mol and Hajer have clearly given to the environment a central role. Moreover an environmental sociology already exists and has developed different theories to respond to environmental challenges from a sociological point of view. Some of these environmental sociologists have radically attacked the dominant classical sociology, enjoined it to have a more "environmentalized" posture and to promote a "green" sociology
This contribution wants to present some of these general and environmental theories, in order to clarify their relevance and epistemological dynamics. But overall we would like to propose a way of pacification between social and natural approach of environment in order to give each approach a specific task without denying their contribution to highlighting environmental challenges. The question to know if sociology has an epistemological limit regarding the environmental question will be finally discussed.