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the ecological messages in Marx's writings.

That there are these ecological messages is demonstrated by Marx's sensitisation to the need to protect and conserve nature. Capra makes this explicit in this quotation from the Economic and Philosophic Manuscripts:

"Nature is man's inorganic body-nature, that is, in so far as it is not itself the human body. 'Man lives on nature' means that nature is his body, with which he must remain in continuous intercourse if he is not to die. That man's physical and spiritual life is linked to nature means simply that nature is linked to itself, for man is part of nature."35

What is needed is a critique not just of capitalism, on which Marxists have tended to concentrate, but of industrial society as a whole. The work of the Frankfurt Institute of Social Research has certainly broadened this perspective within Marxism by focusing its analysis on a critique of technical reason, rather than specifically on the economic relations of production. For instance in his critique of science and technology Marcuse, one of the original members of the Frankfurt School, has referred to the material destructiveness of all industrial societies arising from their accentuation of quantitative rather than qualitative growth. The framework of analysis used by the Frankfurt School—critical theory— which concentrates not just on the economic relations of production, but on the totality of society, does seem the best prospect for the development of an analysis of ecological issues as an aspect of social exploitation. Moreover the firm commitment of critical theory to the principle of human emancipation, and its inter-disciplinary approach, lends strength to this argument.

There are some continuities between the thought of radical humanists such as Illich and Schumacher, and those of the Frankfurt School. Perhaps the exploration of these continuities provides the best basis both for the development of a sociological perspective on ecological issues of current concern, and the emergence of a new theory of industrialisation.


1. R. Frankenberg, Communities in

Britain, Penguin, 1969. ch.ll 2. F . Tonnies, Community and Association,

RKP, 1955 3. J . Freund, 'German Sociology in the

Time of Max Weber', in T. Bottomore and R. Nisbet (eds) A History of Sociological Analysis, Heinemann, 1979. p. 154 4. F . Pappenheim, The Alienation of Modern Man, Modern Reader Paper­

backs, 1968. pp.66-77 5. P. Tillich, 'Systematic Theology', vol.I,

in W.A. Weisskopf, Alienation and Economics, Clarke, Irwin & Co., 1971. p.38 G.Ibid. 7.H.H. Gerth & C. Wright Mills, From Max Weber, RKP, 1970. p.139. 'Science as a Vocation' BJbid. p.214 9. A. Giddens, Capitalism and Modern

Social Theory, CUP, 1971. p.184 10.1. Illich, Deschooling Society, Penguin,

1973. p.l l 11.1. Illich, Energy and Equity, Calder &

Boyars, 1974. p.59 12. Ibid. 13.1. Illich, op.cit, 1973 14.1. Illich, Limits to Medicine, Penguin,

1977 15.P.L. Berger & T. Luckman, The Social

Construction of Reality, Penguin, 1971. p.106 16.1. Illich, op.cit, 1973. p.44

17.1. Illich, Ibid., p.9 lS.Ibid., p.109 19.1bid., pp.114/115 20.1. Illich, Tools for Conviviality, Fontana,

1975. p.l l 21. H. Marcuse, One Dimensional Man,

Abacus, 1972. p.47 22. P. Tillich, Systematic Theology, Vol.11,

Nisbet James & Co. Ltd., 1957. p.56 23.1. Illich, op.cit., 1975. p.12 24. Ibid., p.60 25. E.F . Schumacher, Small is Beautiful,

Abacus, 1974. p.30 26. E . Fromm, To Have or To Be? Sphere

Books Ltd., Abacus, 1979. p.114 27. F . Capra, The Tao of Physics, Fontana,

1976. p.324 28. F . Capra, The Turning Point, Wildwood

House, 1982. p.17 29. Ibid., p.18 30. Ibid., p.21 31. Ibid., p.22 32. A. MacBeath, 'The Need for a Social

Philosophy', in W.D. Birrell et al (eds), Social Administration, Penguin, 1973. pp.283/284 33. F . Capra, op.cit., 1976. p.325 34. K. Kumar, Prophecy and Progress,

Penguin, 1978. p.260 35. K. Marx, 'Economic and Philosophic

Manuscripts', in F . Capra, op.cit. 1982. p.217

Alwyn Jones is Senior Lecturer in Sociology in the Department of Behavioural and Communication Studies at the Polytechnic of Wales.


From August 6th 1983, the anniversary of Hiroshima, people from all over the world are commencing a fast for an indeterminate period to protest against the continuing arms race, including the siting of Pershing and Cruise in Western Europe. Their fast will be brought to an end only when negotiations at Geneva indicate that a halt will be called to the spread of nuclear weapons. For further details contact: Fast for Life 942 Market St. No. 710 San Francisco California 94102 Tel: (415) 982-4637

The Ecologist, Vol. 13, No. 4, 1983


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