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BSOE-143: Environmental Sociology

BSOE-143: Environmental Sociology

IGNOU Solved Assignment Solution for 2023-24

If you are looking for BSOE-143 IGNOU Solved Assignment solution for the subject Environmental Sociology, you have come to the right place. BSOE-143 solution on this page applies to 2023-24 session students studying in BASOH courses of IGNOU.

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Assignment Code: BSOE-143/ASST /TMA / July 2023 Jan-2024

Course Code: BSOE-143

Assignment Name: Environmental Sociology

Year: 2023-2024

Verification Status: Verified by Professor

Assignment A

Answer the following in about 500 words each.

Q1) Explain the nature and scope of Environmental Sociology.

Ans) Interdisciplinary Nature:

Environmental Sociology is inherently interdisciplinary, drawing from sociology, ecology, environmental science, and other disciplines. It examines the intricate relationships between society and the environment, emphasizing the social dimensions of environmental issues.

Societal Perspectives on Nature:

This field investigates how different societies see and engage with the natural world. In doing so, it sheds light on the manner in which human cultures understand and value the environment by delving into the cultural, historical, and social constructions of nature.

Social Causes and Consequences of Environmental Issues:

Ecological sociology is the study of the social factors that contribute to environmental issues and the repercussions of those factors. This research studies the ways in which human actions, institutions, and behaviours contribute to environmental problems, as well as the ways in which environmental problems, in turn, have an effect on societies.

Social Inequality and Environmental Justice:

This academic field investigates the ways in which environmental problems and social inequalities overlap with one another. It investigates the ways in which underprivileged people frequently bear a disproportionate weight of environmental deterioration and lack access to environmental resources, which ultimately led to the concept of environmental justice.

Human-Environment Relationships:

Environmental Sociology analyses the complex relationships between humans and their environment. This includes the study of environmental attitudes, beliefs, and behaviours, as well as the impacts of technological advancements and economic systems on the environment.

Sustainable Development:

The field is concerned with the concept of sustainable development, exploring ways in which societies can meet present needs without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs. It critically examines economic, political, and social structures contributing to or hindering sustainability.

Environmental Movements and Activism:

Environmental Sociology studies the emergence and impact of environmental movements and activism. It explores how grassroots movements advocate for environmental protection, challenge unsustainable practices, and seek to influence policies and public opinion.

Globalization and Environmental Change:

The discipline investigates the global dimensions of environmental change, exploring how globalization processes impact ecosystems, resource distribution, and environmental governance. It considers the uneven distribution of environmental benefits and burdens globally.

Social Institutions and Environmental Governance:

Environmental Sociology analyses how social institutions, such as governments, corporations, and non-governmental organizations, contribute to environmental governance. It scrutinizes policies, regulations, and mechanisms for addressing environmental challenges.

Ecological Modernization:

The concept of ecological modernization, explored in Environmental Sociology, examines the potential for technological innovation and institutional changes to promote sustainability. It questions whether industrial societies can transition toward more environmentally-friendly practices.

Environmental Health:

The field of study investigates the ways in which environmental elements have an effect on human health and well-being, therefore addressing concerns that are associated with environmental health. This involves the investigation of diseases, contaminants, and the socioeconomic factors that contribute to the existence of environmental health inequalities.

Climate Change and Adaptation:

Environmental Sociology engages with the pressing issue of climate change, examining its social causes, impacts, and societal responses. It explores adaptive strategies, policy frameworks, and social movements aimed at mitigating and adapting to climate change.

Q2) Explain the similarities and differences among scholars on the notion of ‘risk’.

Ans) The concept of 'risk' has been investigated by a wide range of academics from a variety of fields, which has resulted in a variety of perspectives that have some similarities but also reflect variances in their conceptualizations. In this section, we will analyse the similarities and contrasts that exist among academics about the concept of risk.


a) Probability and Uncertainty: Scholars generally agree that risk involves an element of probability and uncertainty. It is often associated with the likelihood of an event occurring and the potential consequences of that event.

b) Perception and Subjectivity: Many scholars emphasize the subjective nature of risk perception. Risk is not solely an objective phenomenon but is shaped by individual and societal perceptions, values, and cultural contexts. Scholars like Ulrich Beck highlight the role of perception in shaping the societal understanding of risks.

c) Multidimensionality: The concept of risk is multidimensional, involving not only the probability of an event but also its potential consequences. Scholars recognize that risks can have economic, social, environmental, and health dimensions, and they often intersect across these domains.

d) Social Construction: Risk is considered a socially constructed phenomenon. Scholars like Peter L. Bernstein and Mary Douglas argue that risks are not inherent in activities or technologies but are constructed through social processes, influenced by cultural norms, values, and power dynamics.


a) Objective vs. Subjective Risk: Some scholars, such as Douglas and Wildavsky, distinguish between "objective risk" (calculable probabilities) and "subjective risk" (perceived risk influenced by social and cultural factors). Others, like Paul Slovic, argue that even seemingly objective risks are subject to individual and cultural perceptions.

b) Risk Society vs. Manufactured Risks: Ulrich Beck, in his concept of the "risk society," argues that modern societies are characterized by new, manufactured risks arising from technological advancements. This contrasts with earlier natural risks. Other scholars, like Anthony Giddens, have critiqued the notion of a distinct "risk society," emphasizing continuity in human exposure to risks.

c) Cultural Theory of Risk: There is a cultural theory of risk that was proposed by Mary Douglas and Aaron Wildavsky. This theory classifies individuals according to their various cultural worldviews. These perspectives on the world have an impact on how individuals and societies understand and react to potential dangers.

d) Risk Perception vs. Risk Communication: There are some academics that make a distinction between natural risks, which originate from natural occurrences, and technological risks, which are typically connected with processes and technologies that are created by humans. When determining the degree of control and responsibility that humans have over various kinds of hazards, this distinction is important to take into consideration.

e) Technological Risk vs. Natural Risk: There are some academics that make a distinction between natural risks, which originate from natural occurrences, and technological risks, which are typically connected with processes and technologies that are created by humans. When determining the degree of control and responsibility that humans have over various kinds of hazards, this distinction is important to take into consideration.

Assignment B

Answer the following questions in about 250 words each.

Q3) Examine the nature of Narmada Bachao Andolan movements in India .

Ans) NBA, started in the 1980s, protested major Narmada River dams in India. Medha Patkar and Baba Amte spearheaded the Sardar Sarovar Dam and other project struggles.

The nature of the NBA movements can be examined through several key aspects:

a) Anti-Dam Campaign: The NBA opposed large-scale Narmada River dams owing to environmental devastation, community dislocation, and social injustice.

b) Social Justice and Rehabilitation: The campaign stressed social justice by exposing dam-related relocation of tribal and underprivileged groups. NBA supported fair rehabilitation, compensation, and affected population rights.

c) Environmental Concerns: Environmental sustainability was a central concern for the NBA. Activists raised issues related to the impact of dam construction on biodiversity, ecosystems, and the overall environmental health of the Narmada region.

d) Non-Violent Protests: The NBA adopted non-violent methods of protest, including dharnas, hunger strikes, and mass mobilizations. The movement sought to draw attention to the grievances of the affected communities and build public support against dam construction.

e) Legal Battles: NBA engaged in extensive legal battles to challenge dam projects. The movement's efforts led to several landmark court decisions, influencing the discourse on displacement, rehabilitation, and environmental considerations in large infrastructure projects.

f) National and International Support: Environmental, human rights, and indigenous and tribal rights groups supported the NBA nationally and internationally. The movement symbolised grassroots opposition to large-scale development.

g) Impact on Policy Discourse: The NBA had a significant impact on shaping the policy discourse around large dams and displacement in India. It contributed to a revaluation of rehabilitation policies and highlighted the need for comprehensive social and environmental impact assessments.

Q4) Critically evaluate the Tread Mill of Production theory.

Ans) Allan Schnaiberg's Treadmill of Production theory critiques economic systems, ecological degradation, and social institutions. The thesis holds that industrial societies cycle between expansion and resource exploitation, degrading the environment and creating social inequality.


a) Holistic Analysis: Integrating ecological, economic, and social factors, the theory is holistic. It recognises their interdependence in understanding environmental degradation dynamics.

b) Emphasis on Structural Forces: The Treadmill of Production shows how capitalist production and consumption cause ecological unsustainableness. It highlights environmental concerns' systemic causes.

c) Recognition of Unequal Distribution: This theory stresses how production expenses and rewards are unequally allocated across social groups. It highlights environmental injustices in underprivileged populations.


a) Deterministic Outlook: Some critics say the theory is too deterministic, presenting society as stuck in a production cycle. This deterministic view may overlook successful environmental conservation or sustainable practises.

b) Limited Attention to Agency: The Treadmill of Production theory tends to downplay the agency of individuals and social movements in influencing environmental outcomes. It may not fully account for instances where conscious choices lead to more sustainable practices.

c) Societal Diversity Oversimplification: Some critics argue that the theory oversimplifies societal diversity by presenting a singular treadmill model. Different societies might experience and respond to ecological challenges in diverse ways, and the theory may not capture this complexity.

d) Neglect of Technological Innovation: Critics point out that the theory does not sufficiently consider the role of technological innovation in mitigating environmental impacts. Advances in technology can potentially decouple economic growth from resource consumption and environmental degradation.

Q5) Write a note on colonial outlook on forest in India.

Ans) British colonialism in India was utilitarian and sought economic rewards from forests. The British saw Indian woods as a source of timber, cash, and industrial raw materials, ignoring their ecological and cultural value to local inhabitants.

a) Revenue Extraction: The British implemented the system of 'scientific forestry' that focused on extracting revenue from forests. Forests were considered a potential source of income through the sale of timber and other forest products.

b) Commercial Exploitation: The colonial authorities pushed commercial forest exploitation to fulfil rising timber demand, especially for ships and railways. This caused massive deforestation and environmental destruction.

c) Exclusion of Local Communities: Traditional forest management practices of local communities were disregarded, and access to forests for grazing, hunting, and gathering was restricted or completely denied. The British established reserved and protected forests, limiting the rights of indigenous people.

d) Creation of Forest Departments: The British Forest Departments regulated and controlled forest resources. These departments prioritised income over environmental damage.

e) Impact on Biodiversity: Unregulated logging and the conversion of diverse natural forests into monoculture plantations had detrimental effects on biodiversity. Many indigenous tree species were overexploited, leading to the loss of unique ecosystems.

f) Environmental Consequences: The colonial approach had severe environmental consequences, including soil erosion, loss of water retention capacity, and disruption of ecological balances. These impacts were often felt by local communities dependent on forests for their livelihoods.

g) Forest Acts and Laws: The British introduced various Forest Acts and laws to regulate and control forest resources. These laws were designed to serve colonial economic interests and were often oppressive for local communities.

Assignment C

Write a note on the following in about 100 words each.

Q6) Ecological complex.

Ans) An ecological complex refers to a dynamic and interconnected system in which various living organisms, their physical environment, and their interactions form a complex and interdependent web. This complex encompasses ecological relationships, energy flows, and nutrient cycles within a particular habitat or ecosystem.

It involves the intricate connections between biotic (living) and abiotic (non-living) components, emphasizing the holistic and integrated nature of ecological systems. As a result of this concept, the idea that ecosystems are not only the sum of individual species but rather extensive networks of relationships that contribute to the resilience and sustainability of the overall ecological structure is brought to light.

Q7) Sunderlal Bahuguna.

Ans) Sunderlal Bahuguna (1927-2021) was an Indian environmentalist and Gandhian activist known for his prominent role in the Chipko movement, a non-violent forest conservation movement in India during the 1970s. Bahuguna passionately advocated for the protection of forests, emphasizing the ecological and social significance of trees.

His dedication to environmental causes extended beyond the Chipko movement, addressing issues like dam construction and sustainable development. A life that was distinguished by a commitment to environmental conservation, non-violent action, and the promotion of Gandhian values for the well-being of both people and the world, Bahuguna's life was rewarded with the Padma Vibhushan.

Q8) Climate change.

Ans) Climate change refers to long-term alterations in global or regional climate patterns, primarily attributed to human activities such as burning fossil fuels, deforestation, and industrial processes. The increased concentration of greenhouse gases, notably carbon dioxide, traps heat in the Earth's atmosphere, leading to rising temperatures, sea level changes, extreme weather events, and disruptions in ecosystems.

There are substantial environmental, economic, and social difficulties that are posed by climate change. These challenges have an impact on biodiversity, food security, water resources, and personal well-being. In order to solve this complicated and pressing global problem, international efforts are concentrated on reducing emissions of greenhouse gases, adjusting to the effects of climate change, and supporting practises that are conducive to sustainability.

Q9) Air pollution.

Ans) Air pollution is the presence of harmful substances, such as particulate matter, nitrogen dioxide, sulfur dioxide, and ozone, in the Earth's atmosphere. Primarily caused by human activities like industrial processes, vehicular emissions, and burning of fossil fuels, air pollution poses severe health and environmental risks.

It can lead to respiratory diseases, cardiovascular issues, and environmental degradation. Urban areas often face elevated pollution levels, impacting the quality of life. As a means of protecting human health and the environment, mitigating air pollution requires the implementation of cleaner technologies, the reduction of emissions, and the promotion of sustainable practises. This requires coordinated efforts on all levels, including the local, national, and international levels.

Q10) Anthropocene.

Ans) The Anthropocene is a proposed geological epoch characterized by significant human influence on Earth's geology and ecosystems. It marks the era where human activities have become a dominant force shaping the planet, impacting climate, biodiversity, and geological processes. Factors like industrialization, deforestation, and fossil fuel combustion have left discernible imprints in the Earth's stratigraphy.

The Anthropocene concept reflects humanity's responsibility for environmental changes and emphasizes the need for sustainable practices to mitigate adverse effects. The formal recognition of the Anthropocene as a distinct epoch is still under scientific consideration, sparking discussions on the profound implications of human activities on Earth's systems.

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