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Social ecology

Social ecology is a critical social theory by American anarchist and libertarian socialist author Murray Bookchin . Conceptualized as a criticism of current social, political, and anti-ecological trends, it espouses a reconstructive, ecological, communitarian, and ethical approach to society. This version advocates a reconstructive and transformative outlook on social and environmental issues, and promotes a directly democratic, confederal politics. As a body of ideas, social ecology envisions a moral economy that moves beyond scarcity and hierarchy, towards a world that reharmonizes human communities with the natural world, while celebrating diversity, creativity and freedom. Bookchin suggests that the roots of ecological and social problems can be traced to hierarchical modes of social organization. Social ecologists claim that the systemic issue of hierarchy can not be resisted by individual actions as such ethical consumerism but must be addressed by more nuanced ethical thinking and collective activity grounded in radically democratic ideals. The complexity of relationships between people and natureis emphasized, along with the importance of establishing more mutual social structures that take account of this. [1]


Social ecology social component comes from its position that nearly all of the world’s ecological problems stem from social problems; with these social problems in the structure of structures and relationships of dominating hierarchy. They argue that apart from those produced by natural disasters, the most serious economic dislocations of the 20th and 21st centuries have their economic, ethnic, cultural, and gender conflict causes, among many others. The present ecological problems, social ecologists, can be understood, much less resolved, without resolute dealing with problems within society. [2]

Social Book of the Book of the Book of the Book of the Book of the Book of the Book of the Book of the Book of the Book of Murray Bookchin, who had written about such matters from the 1950s until his death, and, from the 1960s, had combined these issues with revolutionary social anarchism . His works include Post-Scarcity Anarchism (1971), Toward an Ecological Society (1980), and The Ecology of Freedom (1982).

Social ecology locates the roots of the ecological crisis firmly in relations of hierarchy and domination between people. In the framework of social ecology, “the very notion of the domination of nature by man stems from the very real domination of human by human.” [3] While the domination of nature is seen as a product of domination within society , it only affects crisis proportions under capitalism . In the words of Bookchin:

The notion that man must dominate the nature of the world. This centuries-long tendency finds its most exacerbating development in modern capitalism. Owing to its inherently competitive nature, the bourgeois society not only pits humans against each other, it also pits the mass of humanity against the natural world. Just as it is converted into commodities, so every aspect of nature is converted into a commodity, a resource to be manufactured and merchandised wantonly. … The plundering of the human spirit by the marketplace is paralleled by the plundering of the earth by capital [4]

In the beginning of 1995, Bookchin became increasingly critical of anarchism, and in 1999, he took a decisive stand against anarchist ideology. He had come to recognize social ecology as a new form of libertarian socialism , and his politics in the framework of a political ideology which he called Communalism . [5]

See also

  • Bahá’í Faith
  • Biodiversity
  • Conservation ethic
  • Conservation movement
  • Earth science
  • Ecology
  • Environmental movement
  • Global warming
  • Laudato si
  • Montreal Ecological
  • Natural environment
  • Panarchy
  • Polytely
  • Recycling
  • School of Social Ecology
  • Sustainability


  1. Jump up^ Bookchin, Murray. The Ecology of Freedom: The Emergence and Dissolution of Hierarchy. Oakland: AK Press, 2005, p. 85-7.
  2. Jump up^ Bookchin, Murray. The Ecology of Freedom, p. 16.
  3. Jump up^ Bookchin, Murray. The Ecology of Freedom, p. 65.
  4. Jump up^ Bookchin, Murray. Post-Scarcity Anarchism. Oakland: AK Press, 2004, p. 24-5.
  5. Jump up^ Biehl, Janet, “Bookshell Breaks With Anarchism”,Communalism, October 2007.

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