chapter  4
In a nutshell: the concept of eco-cultural coevolution
Pages 4

Contrary to classic approaches from environmental sociology which are caught between the two poles of unidirectional realism or constructivism, the concept of eco-cultural coevolution combines theoretical considerations from environmental sociology and ecological economics and – in doing so – takes a mediating position. Physical nature and society are not treated as two opposed entities, but are conceptualized as an indivisible unit referred to as eco-cultural habitat. Eco-cultural habitats are specifi c constellations between human beings and their physical surroundings which are mediated via technologies, institutions, and cultural preferences. These relationships are neither ecologically nor culturally determined but emerge in a dynamic coevolutionary process during which suitable fi ts between nature and technologies, technologies and institutions, and institutions and culture emerge in a twofold way. This means that these fi ts have to fulfi ll both functional necessities (for example, in terms of engineering science or economic functionalism) and ideational preferences.