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This essay highlights some of the theoretical debates in German-language sociology, for instance, metamorphosis and emancipatory catastrophism, social ecology, and the politics of unsustainability. The macro perspective is complemented by approaches that draw on environmental behavior and real-world laboratories as a way to promote environmental transformations. Three prominent topics of recent years (energy transitions, climate change, and sustainability) are discussed at some length before the conclusion suggests that the specific contribution of sociology would lie in a sober and unsparing analysis of the complex societal preconditions for transformational changes, which would involve highlighting piecemeal, incremental, slow, and unplanned changes, unintended consequences, and the role of conflicts and tensions.

© 2021 Walter de Gruyter GmbH, Berlin/Munich/Boston
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