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You are here Postgraduate > MSc in Comparative Social Change > Course Structure and Handbook

Global Responses to Climate Change

Module Code: SOC41180 (UCD)

  • ECTS Credit : 10
  • Mandatory/ Optional : Optional
  • Module Coordinator : Dr Egle Gusciute, School of Sociology, UCD

Module Description:

Climate change is one of the most pressing challenges currently facing societies at local, national, and global levels. This module examines climate change from a sociological perspective, with a focus on the interactions between human societies and the natural environment. The overall aim of this module is to provide students with a comprehensive understanding of social and global dimensions of climate change, while critically analysing global issues and potential solutions. Throughout the module, students will engage with key sociological theories, concepts and empirical research and will examine topics such as environmental inequality, climate-induced migration, consumption, waste, sustainability, energy transitions, pollution, social movements, and social acceptance from interdisciplinary and comparative perspectives. In addition, students will be introduced to social life cycle assessment (sLCA) in assessing the social impacts of climate change solutions and policy interventions. By the end of the module, students will develop a deep understanding of the sociological underpinnings of climate change, enabling them to contribute to informed and sustainable solutions in addressing this global challenge.

Learning Outcomes:

On successful completion of the module students should be able to:

  • Acquire an understanding of social dimensions of climate change and engage with key concepts, debates and issues;
  • Display competence in interpreting and analysing theoretical, methodological and empirical work on social dimensions of climate change from an interdisciplinary perspective;
  • Reflect and critically analyse social dimensions of climate change;
  • Identify key issues and consider possible solutions from a comparative and global perspectives.

Lectures & Tutorials/ Contact hours:

  • Module Length: 11 weeks (Michaelmas Term)
  • Workload: Readings: 70hrs; Summative assessment (e.g. essays, journals): 130hrs. Total: 200 hours

Recommended Texts

Key Reading:

  • Barry, J. (2007) Environment and Social Theory (2nd ed.). Oxon: Routledge.
  • Bell, M. M., Ashwood, L. L., Leslie, I. S., & Schlachter, L. H. (2021) An Invitation to Environmental Sociology (6th ed.). New York: Sage.
  • Carolan, M. (2020) Society and the Environment: Pragmatic Solutions to Ecological Issues (3rd ed.). New York: Routledge, Taylor & Francis Group.
  • Dhillon, J. (2022) Indigenous Resurgence: Decolonialization and Movements for Environmental Justice. S.l.: Berghahn Books.
  • Dunlap, R. E., & Brulle, R. J. (2015) Climate Change and Society: Sociological Perspectives. New York: Oxford University Press.
  • Dunlap, R. E., Buttel, F. H., Dickens, P., & Gijswijt, A. (Eds.) (2002) Sociological Theory and the Environment: Classical Foundations, Contemporary Insights. Boston: Rowman& Littlefield.
  • Ghosh, A. (2021) The Nutmeg's Curse: Parables for a Planet in Crisis. London: John Murray.
  • Gould, K. A., & Lewis, T. L. (Eds.) (2020) Twenty Lessons in Environmental Sociology (3rd Edition).  New York: Oxford University Press. 
  • Gross, M. & Heinrichs. H. (Eds.) (2010) Environmental Sociology: European Perspectives and Interdisciplinary Challenges. Dordrecht: Springer
  • Legun, K., Keller, J. C., Carolan, M. S., & Bell, M. (Eds.). (2020) The Cambridge Handbook of Environmental Sociology (Vol. 1 and Vol. 2). Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.
  • Manuel-Navarrete, D., Pelling, M., & Redclift, M. R. (2012) Climate change and the Crisis of Capitalism: A Chance to Reclaim Self, Society and Nature. London: Routledge.
  • Norgaard, K. M. (2011) Living in Denial: Climate Change, Emotions, and Everyday Life. Cambridge, Mass: MIT Press.
  • Park, L. S.-H., & Pellow, D. N. (2011) The Slums of Aspen: Immigrants vs. The Environment in America's Eden. New York: New York University Press.
  • Stillerman, J. (2015) The Sociology of Consumption: A Global Approach. Malden, MA: Polity Press.
  • Szasz, A. (2007) Shopping Our Way to Safety: How We Changed From Protecting the Environment to Protecting Ourselves. Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press.


  • 3,000 word group project: 60%
  • In-Class Presentation: 40% (throughout the semester)