An ocean of troubles: advancing marine sociology

We advance marine sociology to analyze the human dimensions of ocean systems. Human societies are fundamentally linked to marine systems and are transforming oceanic conditions in dramatic ways, resulting in socio-ecological problems. Despite the great and important possibilities in this realm, these relationships are seldom studied within sociology. This article highlights the ecological foundations of human societies, emphasizing interactions with marine systems, and presents marine sociology as a valuable expansion of environmental sociological studies. This approach seeks to better integrate sociological and ecological sciences. We propose that social metabolic analysis serves as one useful theoretical framework for examining the socio-ecological interrelationships. The analysis focuses on the dynamics of ocean systems, social processes that are changing marine ecosystems, and the perennial interactions within and between these systems. We provide brief analyses of climate change, ocean acidification, and pollution, revealing how the modern socioeconomic order has created ecological rifts in marine ecosystems, and how these concerns reciprocally affect  social life.

Longo S. B. & Clark B., 2016. An ocean of troubles: advancing marine sociology. Social Problems 63(4):463-479. Article (subscription required).

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