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ERIC Number: ED151242
Record Type: RIE
Publication Date: 1977-Sep
Pages: 21
Abstractor: N/A
Reference Count: 0
Energy and Sociology.
Cottrell, Fred
The realization that all scientific phenomena are manifestations of energy, rather than separate subjects of inquiry for chemists, physicists, or biologists, has encouraged scientists to explore gaps between the traditional fields of scientific inquiry. In light of this fact, it would seem that the flow of energy should be a major area of concern to social scientists, particularly sociologists. However, there is little evidence that sociologists are interested in influences which energy has had upon society. Aspects of this influence which sociologists might explore can be found by looking at the history of western civilization: expansion of trade and colonialization made possible by high-energy mechanisms such as the sailing ship; technological advances on life style; and passage of political power from landowners to traders and industrialists. Now that scientists and social scientists are questioning the survival of today's high energy society, sociologists are faced with new concerns and are responsible for providing propositions about a world in which surplus energy is in continuous decline. Possible topics for research by sociologists include energy conservation, the relationship of human values to material concerns, population trends, the pollutant effects of high energy, and proliferation of competing demands for energy. The conclusion is that sociological research will contribute the most to knowledge by investigating interactions between material and technological realities, such as the declining energy supply, and human values and attitudes. (Author/DB)
Publication Type: Speeches/Meeting Papers
Education Level: N/A
Audience: N/A
Language: N/A
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Note: Paper presented at Annual Meeting of the American Sociological Association (Chicago, Illinois, September 5-9, 1977)