The sociology of natural resources and the environment constitutes a major field of inquiry in the research on human–environmental interactions. A constructive debate and dialogue on the relationships between environmental sociology (ES) and the sociology of natural resources (SNR) began at the 2000 International Symposium on Society and Resource Management (ISSRM) in Bellingham, Washington. Frederick Buttel argued that the two subdisciplines had different subject matters, levels of analysis, spatial focuses, theoretical orientations, policy relevance, and interdisciplinary commitments. These distinctive tendencies have been widely accepted in environmental and natural resource social science but have not been systematically analyzed. The primary objective of this research is to conduct an empirical test of Buttel's differentiating criteria through a systematic review of sample American sociological journal articles published in 2000 and 2014. The multivalue qualitative comparative analysis revealed that there was no clear‐cut divide between the two subfields regarding the combinations of empirical research characteristics, while the general tendencies within both of them became more diverse over time. The overall lack of empirical research evidence for rigid ES–SNR distinctions also indicates that there is more potential than typically realized to build an integrative environmental and resource sociology in the American context and beyond.
Rural Sociology – Wiley
Published: Jan 1, 2018
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