Historical and Sociological Origins of Sustainability as a Cultural Process

Gianluca Senatore

Abstract


This paper aims to highlight the close connection existing between the main leading scholars, those considered the contemporary theorists of environmentalism and ecologism and some groups and movements that developed in Russia in the early twenties.The environmental crisis and its consequences, strongly perceived during the sixties and seventies, have given a strong impetus to sociology, they definitely introduced environmental issues as well as a new case study of environmental problems. Sociological disciplines use to study the relationship between man and nature. This kind of disciplines occurred at the end of the seventies of the last century. Before that time, environmental issues were not underestimated, they, rather, took scientist’s interest. I would demonstrate that during the early twenties, Russia offers scientific studies, theories and relationships that in many cases inspired the majority of Western scholars seen as the leading scholars of an “environmental issue”. Moreover, I would demonstrate that there was already a strong perception of the modern meaning of terms such as ecology, nature, environment, crisis, limit risk. Those concepts were used mostly to assume a social and economic development of rational type (sustainable). Clearly many authors, not only sociologists and economists, such as Ludwig von Bertalanffy, Kenneth Boulding, Nicholas Georgescu-Roegen, Riley Dunlap, William Catton and many others, have been influenced by some intellectuals, scientists and environmentalists Russians. The question is not about following a Marxist-ideological path, because it is evident that there is no connection with Marxism stricto sensu. The environmental issue in Russia in fact was strongly put forward in ancient times yet by the scientific community (even the anti-Marxist ones) and continued by some motions trough 1917-1929, at first well seen by the regime. Lenin and Bogdanov where the main protectors of this kind of line. Bogdanov, especially, is a leading figure that contributed with his tektology theory, with his science fiction stories loaded, with deep scientific references, with the role of man in nature, with a fear for the increase in population ,with the recognition of the limits of the resources and of the same nature, 'industrial pollution and more.., he gave a real impetus to the process of cultural sustainability. This process in favor of a natural environment as well as of a sustainable development, is the same process known today. Bogdanov is simply the beginning of a tendance.

DOI: 10.5901/mjss.2014.v5n4p681


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Mediterranean Journal of Social Sciences ISSN 2039-9340(Print) ISSN 2039-2117(Online)

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