环境社会科学中的主要课题，领域和概念旨在传达与自然和人类活动交织在一起所产生的环境问题，这些活动不断地重塑环境，或者自身创造环境。例如，政治生态学建立在环境不是以政治为前提的基础之上，因此它的主要研究方向是谁可以加入自然环境中，环境资源如何通过自身改变人类的政治结构，权力关系，经济制度和社会进程。Paul Robbins, conveys this in his differentiation of "A-political verse political ecologies". According to Robbins political ecology places emphasis on identifying "broader systems rather than blaming proximate and local forces; between viewing ecological systems as power-laden rather than politically inert; and between taking an explicitly normative approach rather than one that claims the objectivity of disinterest".人类环境关系通过贯穿整个人类关系网络和生态系统交织结构的“系统”且相互影响。在描述环境公平时，Shoreman-Ouimet和Kopnina强调的概念包括“人类社会和生态行为者有关的权重问题”。在进一步尝试理解人类与环境的关系时，环境社会科学的研究者已经开始探索人类与非人类之间的关系，以了解两者在自然界中如何相互影响。Ideas related to exploring human and animal interactions within the natural world, have become prominent in environmental ethics. Shoreman Ouimet and Kopnina define environment ethics as "a sub-discipline of philosophy that deals with the ethical problems surrounding the environment, in some cases providing ethical justification and moral motivation for the cause of environmental protection or for considerations of animal welfare". This has culminated in debates regarding environmental value and moral rights and who within the larger ecosystem should be assigned these rights. Environmental ethics explores the dialectic between human and nature exploring how the human configuration of nature may in turn reshape humans, their relationships and their conditions. Ideas that have emerged from the questions seeking to examine this dialectic include those of "post-domesticity and domesticity". Domesticity refers to societal dynamics produced in societies in which humans have daily contact with animals other than pets in contrast in post-domesticity people are quite distant from the animals they consume in referencing the ideas of Bulliet (2005) Emel and Neo convey that a distance from witnessing the processes that govern animal life including births, deaths while consuming animals as food, impacts people differently than if they were to be interacting continuously with animals. They mention that post- domesticity may produce feelings of guilt however the continued distance between animal life brought by interacting with animals as a commodity may cause people to only distantly relate to them or think of them as packages in a store disassociating them from the life-cycles they embody. Therefore environmental science has paved the way to multiple concepts, ideas and paradigms that differ among each other but all seek to intertwine issues related to the environment with other fields and issues in the social sciences.
社会学家研究SES（社会经济地位）以决定不同的资源获取途径，对资源产生的资本和生活质量对资源进行划分。 通常，他们的调查涉及决定健康的社会因素，疾病控制和预防中心（CDC）报告称这是“人们生活，学习，工作和玩耍时的健康风险和造成结果“。 这些社会流行病学家必须与环境社会科学家合作，以了解不同环境对人类健康的影响。这些研究成果用于制定环境和公共卫生政策，以提高全球人类的生活水平。第五届欧洲环境与卫生部长级会议同意通过新的城市规划政策，卫生和环境立法进程，努力改善低收入人群住房条件，防止儿童面临重大的环境健康风险。 某些环境对人类社会的影响提供了社会流行病学调查的基础，以确定它们是否与社会地位的高低有关，特别是只有某一部分人口受到负面影响时，体现的尤为清楚。流行病学使用宿主 - 代理 - 环境三角框架来理解人类生病的原因，这种三种方法允许社会流行病学家探索环境如何导致一个分区或整个人群的健康状况下降。 It promotes the idea that the social, cultural, economic, political and environmental factors are all important factors to be considered, and health impact assessments (HIA) recommended by social epidemiologists working with environment social scientists are effectively making positive changes in the environment. The World Health Organization (WHO) worked with its members to compose the Strategic Environmental Assessment (SEA) protocol in 2001 to ensure health impact assessments would be made with environmental assessments for policies relating to bettering the quality of life especially within low socioeconomic communities all around the world. As the environment can create stressors that are factors (i.e. low quality housing in areas of high pollution) that limit the quality of life of millions of people globally, environmental social scientists work collaboratively with the data social epidemiologists investigate and provide to understand the relationship between health status and environmental issues.
Berkhout, Frans, Melissa Leach, and Ian Scoones. 2003. "Shifting perspectives in environmental social science." pp. 1–31 in Negotiating Environmental Change: New Perspectives from Social Science. Cheltenham, UK: Edward Elgar. ISBN978-1843761532
Folmer, Henk, and Olof Johansson-Stenman. 2011. "Does Environmental Economics Produce Aeroplanes Without Engines? On the Need for an Environmental Social Science," Environmental and Resource Economics48 (3): 337-361.
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