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Environmental Degradation, Disproportionality, and the Double Diversion: Reaching Out, Reaching Ahead, and Reaching Beyond

Environmental Degradation, Disproportionality, and the Double Diversion: Reaching Out, Reaching... Abstract Rather than seeking ivory‐tower isolation, members of the Rural Sociological Society have always been distinguished by a willingness to work with specialists from a broad range of disciplines, and to work on some of the world's most challenging problems. What is less commonly recognized is that the willingness to reach beyond disciplinary boundaries can contribute not just to the solution of real‐world problems, but also to the advancement of the discipline itself. This point is increasingly being illustrated in studies of environment‐society relationships. Most past discussions of humans' roles in environmental problems have focused on overall or average human impacts, but rural sociologists have played leading roles in identifying what I have come to call “the double diversion.” First, rather than being well‐represented by averages, environmental damages are often characterized by high levels of disproportionality, with much or most of the harm being created by the diversion of environmental rights and resources to a surprisingly small fraction of the relevant social actors. The dispropor‐tionality appears to be made possible in part through the second diversion, namely distraction—the diversion of attention, largely through the taken‐for‐granted but generally erroneous assumption that the environmental harm “must” be for the benefit of us all. There are good reasons why rural sociologists would have been among the first to notice both of these “diversions”— and why they will give even greater attention to both in the future. http://www.deepdyve.com/assets/images/DeepDyve-Logo-lg.png Rural Sociology Wiley

Environmental Degradation, Disproportionality, and the Double Diversion: Reaching Out, Reaching Ahead, and Reaching Beyond

Rural Sociology , Volume 71 (1) – Mar 1, 2006

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References (59)

Publisher
Wiley
Copyright
2006 Rural Sociological Society
ISSN
0036-0112
eISSN
1549-0831
DOI
10.1526/003601106777789792
Publisher site
See Article on Publisher Site

Abstract

Abstract Rather than seeking ivory‐tower isolation, members of the Rural Sociological Society have always been distinguished by a willingness to work with specialists from a broad range of disciplines, and to work on some of the world's most challenging problems. What is less commonly recognized is that the willingness to reach beyond disciplinary boundaries can contribute not just to the solution of real‐world problems, but also to the advancement of the discipline itself. This point is increasingly being illustrated in studies of environment‐society relationships. Most past discussions of humans' roles in environmental problems have focused on overall or average human impacts, but rural sociologists have played leading roles in identifying what I have come to call “the double diversion.” First, rather than being well‐represented by averages, environmental damages are often characterized by high levels of disproportionality, with much or most of the harm being created by the diversion of environmental rights and resources to a surprisingly small fraction of the relevant social actors. The dispropor‐tionality appears to be made possible in part through the second diversion, namely distraction—the diversion of attention, largely through the taken‐for‐granted but generally erroneous assumption that the environmental harm “must” be for the benefit of us all. There are good reasons why rural sociologists would have been among the first to notice both of these “diversions”— and why they will give even greater attention to both in the future.

Journal

Rural SociologyWiley

Published: Mar 1, 2006

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