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Volatile Places
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Volatile Places
A Sociology of Communities and Environmental Controversies



November 2006 | 256 pages | SAGE Publications, Inc
Volatile Places: A Sociology of Communities and Environmental Controversies is a thoughtful guide to the spirited public controversies that inevitably occur when environments and human communities collide. The movie "An Inconvenient Truth" based on the environmental activism of Al Gore and the devastation of Hurricane Katrina are specifically highlighted. Authors Valerie Gunter and Steve Kroll-Smith begin with a simple observation and offer a provocative case study approach to the investigation of community and environmental controversies.

Key Features:  
  • Compels students with personal narrative: Co-author Valerie Gunter, who was teaching at the University of New Orleans when Hurricane Katrina struck, gives her personal standpoint of this tragedy.
  • Creates a dramatic story around the controversy: Each case study illustrates a local environmental conflict and is written to capture students' attention.
  • Provides a unique way to view environmental conflicts: The book illustrates the importance of each perspective and local knowledge when making decisions about the environment.
  • Makes connections with previous chapters: The chapters are integrated to create a strong sense for the multifaceted approach to the study of community and environmental controversies.
  • Includes portfolios in each chapter as well as concept and theory boxes: Students are inspired to engage in spirited thinking, original research, and action.

Intended Audience:  
This text is designed for advanced undergraduate and graduate courses in Environmental Sociology. It is also an ideal text for Social Problems courses focusing on environmental issues.  
 
Preface
 
Acknowledgments
 
1. When Environments and Communities Collide
 
2. The Presence of the Past
 
3. Trust and Betrayal
 
4. The Problem of Uncertain Knowledge
 
5. Perceptions of Fairness
 
6. Oppositional Activity and Social Capital
 
7. Social Facts and Brute Facts: Confounding the Social and the Physical
 
Postscript
 
References
 
Index
 
About the Authors

It gives an engaging and student-friendly account of environmental justice, which is a main focus of my Environmental Soc course this semester.

Ms Stephanie Malin
Sociology Soc Work Anthro Dept, Utah State University
February 7, 2010
Key features
Feature:  Personal standpoint of the author who taught at the University of New Orleans when Hurricane Katrina struck.  
Benefit: Compells students with personal narrative from the author who experienced of this tragedy, and applying the sociological imagination makes it a timely teaching tool.  

Feature: Case Studies illustrating a local environmental conflict written to capture students' attention  
Benefit: Creates a dramatic story around the controversy  

Feature: Each Chapter provides a uniqe way to view Environmental Conflicts.  
Benefit: Illustrates the importance of the perspective and local knowledge when making decisions about the environment.  

Feature: Making Connections with Previous Chapters
Benefit:  Integrates the chapters to create a strong sense for the multifaceted approach to the study of community and environmental controversies.  

Feature:  Portfolios in each chapter
Benefit:  Summarizes material and provides questions that lead students into thoughtful encounters with key concepts.   

Feature: Concept and Theory Boxes
Benefit: Ideas and theories that are introduced but not elaborated on in the text are given a more thorough and concise treatment in the boxes.

For instructors

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