Social Constructivism and Environmental Problems -Epistemological challenges
Journal article, Peer reviewed
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Original versionKlein, Jørgen (2002): Social Constructivism and Environmental Problems – Epistemological Challenges. Nordisk Samhällsgeografisk Tidskrift, 33, 3-24.
During the past decade social constructivist approaches to the environment have gained increasing strength within geography and the social sciences. This has raised the ultimate question; is it possible to apply a social constructivist approach to environmental problems, and yet still underpin this with a biophysically accurate perspective of environmental processes? This article revolves around this question and tries to develop an epistemological framework for approaches that seek to blend researchon the social construction of environmental change with attempts to understand the nature of ‘real’ environmental changes. With the political ecology approach as a point of departure the article examines various forms of social constructivism, from weak to strong ones. Further it is suggested that the two theoretical thrusts of critical realism and environmental pragmatism have something to offer in this respect, as both incorporate a certain aspect of social constructivism but reject strong forms of relativism.
This article was originally published in Nordisk samhällsgeografisk tidskrift, ISSN 0282-4329.