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The sociology of materiality and environmental interaction (2015)

Name of course: The sociology of materiality and environmental interaction

ECTS credits: 5

Course parameters:

Language: English

Level of course: PhD course

Time of year Autumn 2015

No. of contact hours / hours in total incl. preparation and assignment: 24 contact / app. 70 total

Capacity limits: 25 participants

Objectives of the course:

The purpose of the course is to introduce participants to sociological theory and closely related social science approaches which include materiality in their understanding of the social, or in the understanding of the interaction between social structures and processes and environmental dynamics. In particular, the course examines sociological theories that enable analyses of environmental issues in modern societies – their dynamics, context, sources, implications and possible management as located in the nexus between sociality and materiality.

Learning outcomes and competences:

The PhD course examines basic as well as applied research areas based on theories and conceptual/analytical frameworks of environmental sociology. The key theoretical approaches are introduced. Furthermore, the students will on the basis of cases (from ongoing research, literature and if possible also the students’ PhD projects) discuss the philosophy of science, the field of application and the usefulness with respect to analysis of particular research areas and problems of the introduced theories and frameworks.  In addition, the methodological challenges generated by including these theories in research are discussed.

In completing the course, each student will acquire the following competences:

  • General knowledge of core theories in environmental sociology
  • Ability to select and apply relevant theories in academic analysis of specific environmental research problems (with a social science perspective)
  • Ability to discuss different relevant theories and their area of application within social science research
  • Ability to synthesize theories of environmental sociology and apply them in the investigation of specific issues, research problems and areas.

Compulsory programme:

To pass the course, all participants are expected to:

  • Read course literature
  • Participate actively in discussions during lectures and exercises
  • Present the course perspective on their PhD project and act as primary discussant for the presentation of a fellow participant’s PhD project
  • Submit a draft academic paper based on theoretical frameworks of the course literature used on their own PhD research.

Course contents:

To be further elaborated in direct communication with participants.

Theoretical perspectives include (but are not necessarily limited to)

  • Practice theory
  • Actor-network theory
  • Mobility of sociology theory
  • Assemblage theory
  • Affordance theory
  • The dwelling perspective (and its roots in phenomenology)
  • Transition theory


The course is for PhD students.

Participants must have some background in or experience with social science studies and a social science component integrated in their PhD projects.

Name of lecturers:

- Senior social scientist Anne Jensen,
- Senior social scientist Lars Kjerulf Petersen,
- Professor Bente Halkier;
- and others

Type of course/teaching methods:

The course consists of a mix of lectures, student presentations and in-depth discussions based on literature, lectures, presentation and participants’ research projects


App. 500 pages to be announced in direct communication with participants.

Course homepage: None

Course assessment:

Participants will be assessed on the basis of their active participation and their submission of a draft academic paper. Assessment is pass/non-pass the course.

Provider: Department of Environmental Science

Special comments on this course: None

Time: 19-22 October 2015

Place: Campus Emdrup


Deadline for registration is 17 August 2015. Information regarding admission will be sent out no later than 21 August 2015.

For registration:

Deadline for payment will be in September after which further information about the course, incl. guidelines for paper submission, will be distributed to the participants. Submission fee is 200 € which, apart from the course activities, will cover tea/coffee, fruit/cake, one dinner during the course and practical assistance.

If you have any questions, please contact:

- Senior social scientist Anne Jensen,
- Senior social scientist Lars Kjerulf Petersen,

Comments on content: 
Revised 16.05.2017