Durkheim’da Toplum-Çevre Etkileşimi: Dışlayıcı Toplumsal Olgulara Karşı Çevreci PotansiyelÇağrı Eryılmaz
Bu çalışmanın amacı Durkheim’ın sosyolojik yaklaşımını toplum-çevre etkileşimi çerçevesinde incelemektir. Döneminin ilerlemeci endüstriyel toplumunun bir üyesi olan Durkheim’ın toplumsal olguların ancak diğer toplumsal olgular ile açıklanabileceği yönündeki yaklaşımı, sosyoloji disiplininin kuruluş sürecinde çevresel etkenleri dışlamıştır. Durkheim evrim sürecindeki toplumu, tarih boyunca değişmediğini vurguladığı doğal çevreden ayrı bir gerçeklik olarak ortaya koymuştur. Diğer yandan, Durkheim sosyolojiyi ayrı bir disiplin olarak kurarken döneminin güçlü ve meşru doğa bilimlerinin yöntemlerini kullanmıştır. Ayrıca çevrenin topluma etkisini; mekanik dayanışmadan organik dayanışmaya geçişte ekolojik kaynakların rolü örneğindeki gibi vurgulamıştır. Toplumsal gerçekliği açıklayan çalışmalarında sıklıkla nüfus, denge, organizma ve kaynak kıtlığı gibi doğa metaforları kullanmıştır. Dahası, toplumsal işbölümünün tüm canlı organizmalarda olup doğadan topluma geçtiğine dikkat çekmiştir. En önemlisi ise toplumu doğanın karmaşık bir parçası olarak tanımlamasıdır. Durkheim çevre sorunlarının ciddiyetinin ve yaygınlığının kabul edildiği; biyoloji ile ekoloji bilimlerinin çok geliştiği günümüzde yaşasaydı, toplum-çevre etkileşimi içeren sosyolojik bir yaklaşım geliştirme potansiyeline sahip olabilecekti. Zira vurguladığı dayanışma, kolektif bilinç ve işbölümü kavramlarının yeniden yorumlanmasının, küresel ölçekteki çevre sorunlarına karşı uluslararası bir işbirliği zemini oluşturması mümkündür.
Society-Environment Interaction in Durkheim: Exclusion of Social Facts versus Environmental PotentialÇağrı Eryılmaz
This paper aims to examine Durkheim’s sociological approach in terms of society-environment interaction. Durkheim’s methodological dictum indicates that social facts can only be explained by other social facts. This notion excludes environmental parameters in the early years of sociology. Hence, he kept separated evolving society from environment that hardly changed historically. On the other hand, Durkheim used the methodology of natural sciences in the establishment of sociology as a discipline. Moreover, he implied the role of natural resources in the transformation of mechanical solidarity to organic solidarity. In fact, he often used metaphors from nature in his studies like population, balance, organism, and resource scarcity to explain social reality. The division of labor, one of his most important concepts, is taken from organisms. Above all, Durkheim defines society as a complex part of nature. If Durkheim lived in the modern world, where the severity of environmental problems is accepted and biology and ecology disciplines are highly developed, he would have a potential to develop a sociological approach that includes society-environment relations. In fact, the redefinition and reuse of concepts like solidarity, collective consciousness, and division of labor provide a base for international cooperation to solve global environmental problems.
Since the 1950s, environmental sociology is hardly accepted despite existing social-environmental issues. These problems have been generated by the rapid industrialization and urbanization causing pollution in the post-war era. Environmental sociology was established in the 1970s when environmental problems gained public attention and the environmental movement emerged. The theories of sociologists Durkheim, Weber, who introduced the rationalization concept, and Marx, who introduced the theory of metabolic rift, were welcomed in environmental sociology. However, Durkheim was criticized that his methodological dictum was excluding society-environment interaction. There are two explanations for the association between Durkheim and societyenvironment interaction. On the one hand, the industrialism of his era caused the exclusion of environment from sociology. On the other hand, Durkheim’s works have significant references to environment that indicate a potential for environmental sociology. This paper aims to examine Durkheim’s sociological approach in terms of society-environment interaction. First, the foundation of environmental sociology is summarized. Then, both examples showing the exclusion of environment and societyenvironment interactions in Durkheim’s studies are shown. The paper concludes with the assessment of Durkheim’s contribution to current environmental sociology challenging ecological crisis that threatens society. Although the first years of sociology were marked by geographical and biological determinism, sociologists favoring a “world view” of development, progress, and modernism in later years ignored environment as an issue (Hannigan, 2006). After a century, when environmental problems had surfaced and threatened industrialized Western societies, environmental concerns and movement were accepted in society and from the cultural perspective. Two pioneers of environmental sociology, Dunlap and Catton (1978) criticized human exceptionalism paradigm of causing the exploitation of nature and Durkheim’s methodological dictum (Madappalli, 2016). The paradigm assumes nature as an endless resource and that the human progress is limitless, while human existence is unique as a result of its developed culture (Catton & Dunlap, 1978) that “covers the dependence of human societies to biophysical environment” (Rice, 2013, p. 238). However, environmental problems and restrictions in the 1960s shook this paradigm and Durkheim’s methodological dictum that reportedly ignored society-environment interaction. Hence, environmental parameters were included in sociological researches. In fact, the New Ecological Paradigm (NEP) scale, developed by environmental sociologists, introduced “environmental facts” against the social facts of Durkheim. The paradigm aims to consider the effects of environmental problems like resource scarcity on main sociological research issues like stratification (Catton & Dunlap, 1978). Hence, environmental sociologists, by using the New Ecological Paradigm, challenge Durkheim’s methodological dictum by accepting the effect of environment on society (Dunlap & Catton, 1979). Durkheim was criticized for excluding the impact of the environment on sociology with his methodological dictum. Sociology, a social discipline excluding environment (Foster, 1999, p. 367), was positioned out of “psychology, biology, economics, and geography” by Marx, Weber, and Durkheim, the three fathers of sociology (Buttel, Dickens, Dunlap, & Gijswijt, 2002, p. 5). However, Marx and Weber were applauded for their concepts, the metabolic rift and rationality, in environmental sociology, unlike Durkheim who was criticized for his methodological dictum that was believed to be against the use of biophysical parameters in sociology (Lidskog, Mol, & Oosterveer, 2015). Durkheim defined social facts only with other social facts, ignoring the biophysical environment (Dunlap, 2016), and implied examination of social systems without using environmental parameters (Norgaard, 1997, p. 159). Durkheim developed a social reductionism to resist biological reductionism (Benton, 1991, as cited in Konak, 2010). Hence, traditional sociology following Durkheim’s approach excluded biophysical environment (Hoyen, 2013). To objectify society within a scientific discipline (Durkheim, 2016, pp. 58, 59, 168), Durkheim defended the use of social facts and collective consciousness against biology and psychology (Hannigan, 2006, p. 5), that social facts can only be explained by social facts (Buttel, 2002) that have power over individuals and are different from non-human and organic facts (Durkheim, 2016). As a result, the methodological dictum made Durkheim and sociologists ignore biological and physical parameters (Dunlap, 1997; Dunlap & Catton, 2007). The exclusion of physical reality by Weberian and Durkheimian authors (Ritzer 1975; Choldin 1978, as cited in Dunlap & Catton, 2007) should be seen as a constructive approach in the early years of sociology (Buttel, 2002). The exclusion of environment was dominant and environmental parameters were ignored in other subdisciplines like rural sociology until the 1970s; these subdisciplines are the foundation of environmental sociology (Dunlap & Martin 1983, as cited in Dunlap, 2002). Durkheim implied the static position of nature throughout history while society changes and evolves (Durkheim, 2010; Gross, 2000; Jarvikoski, 1996). Durkheim separated the concept of evolution, originated from ecology and biology, from nature and integrated it into the social sphere (Durkheim, 2014). Furthermore, he put a sharp distinction between human society and animals, as they lack of morality and collective consciousness (Durkheim, 2010) and they are static unlike human societies (Durkheim, 2014). Although sociological theorists Durkheim, Weber, and Marx did not directly examine society-environment interaction; their studies indirectly included this issue (Hannigan, 2006, p. 5). Hence, Durkheim should be comprehended through the extensive framework of human-nature systems instead of narrow anthropocentricism (Rosa & Richter, 2008). In fact, Durkheim did not deny the importance of biological and physical parameters in sociology (Jarvikoski, 1996). Moreover, Durkheim followed the example of natural science during the exploration of social reality (Durkheim, 2016). Despite a strong and common prejudice in traditional sociology, Durkheim’s studies involve many references to the environment. However, the methodological dictum of Durkheimian scholars reinstructed sociology (Catton, 2002), resulting in Dunlap and Catton, two founders of environmental sociology, strongly criticizing the Durkheimian theory. Contrarily, the limited prevalence of social facts and the emphasis on the environmental parameters in Durkheim’s studies are important objections to their critique (Rosa & Richter, 2008). Çelebi (2007, p. 159) highlighted the importance of the balance between population and land as social facts that affect society. Durkheim considered the effects of the position of sun and the condition of the atmosphere to people, and his social morphology notion had other environmental insights like the use of land (Gross, 2000). He also implied the coevolution of nature and society in his work of Pragmatism and Sociology (Foster, 1999). According to him, nature is not the reverse of society, but a part, the highest representation, and complex form of nature (Durkheim 2010; Jarvikoski, 1996). Moreover, Durkheim (2016) implied similarities between “physical environment” and society and defined society as part of nature. Durkheim often referred to nature in his classical study of totemism. Tribe members lean toward plants, animals, and rocks in understanding their society. They imitate animals in their religious rituals. Safety and domination of nature make up their religion (Durkheim, 2010). Durkheim often used biological terms like species, population density, and resource scarcity in his explanation of social evolution and solidarity concepts (Buttel, 2002). He implied that division of labor exists in all living organisms, and transfers society from nature (Durkheim, 2014). On the other hand, his notion of competition and division of labor undermined environmental concerns like pollution and resource scarcity in urbanization (Lenski, 1984, as cited in Buttel & Humprey, 2002). This paper aims to examine Durkheim’s sociological approach in terms of societyenvironment interaction. The construction process of sociology as a distinct discipline excluded environmental parameters. However, urbanization and industrialization in the 1950s have caused environmental concerns and movements in Western societies. The foundation of environmental sociology was challenged in the 1970s by the methodological dictum of Durkheim. Although some of his studies strongly separate society from environment like social facts, he often referred to environmental concepts like population, balance, organism, and resource scarcity. Durkheim also implied metabolic interaction between society and environment, and that society is a complex part of nature.