Sociology, extreme environments and social change

Steve Kroll-Smith, Stephen R. Couch, Brent K. Marshall

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

29 Scopus citations


In recent years, an increasing number of sociologists have recognized that when human technologies disrupt the relationship between communities and environments, both communities and environments change. This change is caused both directly, by physical changes in the environment, and indirectly, through the appraisals people make of those disruptions and the social processes those appraisals set in motion. Such a situation can be called an 'extreme environment', in which the disruption between communities and the physical environment narrows the range of what people know about their physical world while simultaneously intensifying their need to protect themselves by acting on that world with imperfect knowledge. All the articles in this issue deal in one way or another with this type of extreme environment and its social impacts. The first looks at long-term environmental disruptions as a new type of disaster. The next three examine the relationship between risk and social policy. The development of grassroots and environmental justice movements is the focus of the next two articles. The final two contributions discuss the attempts to understand the nature and impacts of technologically induced extreme environments.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1-18
Number of pages18
JournalCurrent Sociology
Issue number3
StatePublished - Dec 1 1997

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Sociology and Political Science


Dive into the research topics of 'Sociology, extreme environments and social change'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this