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Federal Center of Theoretical and Applied Sociology of the Russian Academy of Sciences
The article looks at the reasons why Russian sociology is lagging behind the overall global trend of making sociology more environment-oriented, with special focus on the issues of interdisciplinary interaction, the creation of a public space for community dialog, and the means of promoting social and environmental knowledge and putting it into practice. Environment and sociology experts are joining forces across Europe and elsewhere around the globe. The UN has a special committee in charge of monitoring climate change and the social and economic consequences thereof. Global policy, including Russia’s policy, is becoming more and more environment-driven. This shift towards protecting the environment requires new professionals and institutions. However, Russia has no disciplinary or institutional conditions for fostering environmental sociology: sociological education institutions do not teach environmental sociology classes, and there are no environmental sociology round tables at sociological conferences. The roots of this backward trend are cultural. Environmental experts treat sociologists with distrust, while the latter do not know how to interpret environmental data. Experts on natural sciences and the humanities need to join forces, which requires a specific institutional format. Multidisciplinary long-term projects must be made a priority. Research methodology and technology must be aimed towards achieving specific end results rather at making writing reports easier. What we need first and foremost is a community dialog and grassroots involvement in preserving the environment, which, despite any and all hurdles, the Russian intelligentsia has been advocating for over a century. We must also bear in mind that people living across the vast expanse of Russia, known for its dramatic differences in climate and culture, all have their own viewpoints. The grassroots development of such environmental priorities sees contributions not only from century-old traditions, but also from schools and universities. The article culminates with a list of urgent measures to be taken in this area of sociological knowledge: making an inventory of social and environmental studies; ensuring that these studies stop being “capital-centric”; conducting comprehensive intersectional and interdisciplinary research of the mid and long-term prospects of environmental modernization; designing the legal and administrative tools needed for the practical application of the aforementioned studies’ results, as Russia transitions to an information society; promoting Russian researchers’ social and environmental insights both in the West and in the East; improving the education system; holding a series of seminars on the subject and creating a public discussion platform; and founding a coordination council responsible for supporting joint social and environmental research in Russia, under the auspices of the RAS Presidium.
ecologization, interdisciplinary thinking, modernization, sociology, Russia.
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