Stephanie A. Malin and Meghan Elizabeth Kallman

May 5, 2022

Building Something Better

Environmental Crises and the Promise of Community Change

Nature, Society, and Culture 2022

As the turmoil of interlinked crises unfolds across the world—from climate change to growing inequality to the rise of authoritarian governments—social scientists examine what is happening and why. Can communities devise alternatives to the systems that are doing so much harm to the planet and people?

Sociologists Stephanie A. Malin and Meghan Elizabeth Kallman offer a clear, accessible volume that demonstrates the ways that communities adapt in the face of crises and explains that sociology can help us understand how and why they do this challenging work. Tackling neoliberalism head-on, these communities are making big changes by crafting distributive and regenerative systems that depart from capitalist approaches. The vivid case studies presented range from activist water protectors to hemp farmers to renewable energy cooperatives led by Indigenous peoples and nations. Alongside these studies, Malin and Kallman present incisive critiques of colonialism, extractive capitalism, and neoliberalism, while demonstrating how sociology’s own disciplinary traditions have been complicit with those ideologies—and must expand beyond them.

Showing that it is possible to challenge social inequality and environmental degradation by refusing to continue business-as-usual, Building Something Better: Environmental Crises and the Promise of Community Change (Rutgers UP, 2022) offers both a call to action and a dose of hope in a time of crises.

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