Runaway climate change, mass extinctions, radical ecological transformations. We are living through profoundly unsettling times and face equally uncertain futures. The MA Ecology, Culture, & Society offers the opportunity to engage with the urgency of contemporary socio-ecological challenges and to imaginatively explore ways of inhabiting the Earth otherwise.
The MA will take a distinctively interdisciplinary and critical perspective. It will highlight the concept of “ecology” in an expanded sense and encompass the complex web of interconnections that bind people, animals, bodies, soils, ideas, technologies, practices, institutions, cultures, and histories with their changing environments. Drawing on perspectives from the humanities and the social sciences, this programme explores the many shifting relationships between natures and cultures around the world. It introduces critical new approaches to the connections between humans and animals in more-than-human worlds, and it will enable you to develop a critical understanding of the ways in which ecological issues are intertwined with the question of social justice, cultural difference, and decolonisation.
You will be encouraged to explore the philosophical, cultural, political, and social dimensions that shape our understanding of contemporary socio-ecological issues and to explore imaginative responses to them. You will also learn to develop and apply ecological perspectives on various forms of social, political, and cultural analysis.
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Link ecology with social, cultural and political processes
This programme will give you a critical understanding of our times and will help you develop key interdisciplinary skills for a critical socio-ecological scholarship, creativity, communication, and activism. It will equip you with the insights, concepts, and skills needed to understand and engage with the tangled relationships between nature and culture, and the ethics and politics of our relationships with animals. You will also acquire knowledge and understanding of key concepts such as Anthropocene, anthropocentrism, value, difference, domestication, human exceptionalism, extractivism, decolonisation, radical pluralism, and the arts of living.
Expand your practical skills
In addition to lectures and seminars, you will learn to conduct independent research and will participate in experimental and practical forms of learning by conducting observations and developing practical experiments of your own design. You will also have the option of doing a placement with an NGO, grassroots activist network, or other relevant organisations, in order to develop your practical skills and reflect upon socio-ecological and animal practices.
This programme will also allow you to benefit from its location in a global city, home to major cultural, scientific, artistic, and political institutions, movements and NGOs that play world-leading roles in furthering ecological knowledge, thought, and practice.
Study with the experts
Teaching on the MA Ecology, Culture, & Society draws on Goldsmiths’ strengths and leadership on environmental issues, including our Green New Deal, to have a transformative effect on your understanding of, and critical engagement with, the most pressing socio-ecological issues of our time. It will build on existing Sociology staff’s expertise on philosophy, animal studies, environmental humanities, science and technology studies, social and cultural theory, radical pluralism, postcolonial studies, aesthetics, and more-than-human politics.
The MA is ideal for anyone pursuing careers in policy research, NGOs, advocacy, charities, international organisations, cultural and political activism, global media, art and curating, as well as for further academic work leading to a PhD.
Goldsmiths is ranked in the 39th in the world for Sociology (QS World University Subject Rankings 2021).
What you'll study
You will study the following compulsory modules, and write a 12,000-word dissertation (60 credits), for which you will meet for individual supervision with a member of the Sociology staff, and participate in Dissertation workshops.
Social Theory for Changing Climates
The Ethics and Politics of Animals
You will also study 30 credits of optional modules from a list annually approved by the Department.
Successful applicants will have a 2:1 or equivalent from their honours undergraduate degree programme in a relevant subject. Those without this level of qualification may make a case for consideration and will be interviewed for admission.
We accept a wide range of international qualifications.
If English isn’t your first language, you will need an IELTS score (or equivalent English language qualification) of 6.5 with a 6.5 in writing and no element lower than 6.0 to study this programme. If you need assistance with your English language, we offer a range of courses that can help prepare you for postgraduate-level study.
This programme is ideal for anyone pursuing careers in policy research, NGOs, advocacy, charities, international organisations, cultural and political activism, global media, as well as for further academic work leading to a PhD. Students are encouraged to seek work experience and work placements during the programme (see the optional module “Practical Ecologies") as time allows. The MA also allows you to pursue further academic research in one or more of the areas covered on the programme.