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Marx's Theory of Metabolic Rift: Classical Foundations for Environmental Sociology

John Bellamy Foster
American Journal of Sociology
Vol. 105, No. 2 (September 1999), pp. 366-405
DOI: 10.1086/210315
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/10.1086/210315
Page Count: 40
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Marx's Theory of Metabolic Rift: Classical Foundations for Environmental Sociology
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Abstract

This article addresses a paradox: on the one hand, environmental sociology, as currently developed, is closely associated with the thesis that the classical sociological tradition is devoid of systematic insights into environmental problems; on the other hand, evidence of crucial classical contributions in this area, particularly in Marx, but also in Weber, Durkheim, and others, is too abundant to be convincingly denied. The nature of this paradox, its origins, and the means of transcending it are illustrated primarily through an analysis of Marx's theory of metabolic rift, which, it is contended, offers important classical foundations for environmental sociology.

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