The age in which people in the West have treated society and nature as essentially separate matters is at an end. Environmental change and degradation impinge on all our lives, and even our genes are increasingly seen by employers and insurers as commodities. The Natural and the Social draws on insights from across the social sciences to examine the changing character of these interrelations between society and nature. Individual chapters look in depth at genes, environments and human development, medical practices and health, and the management of environmental risk. Throughout students are encouraged to draw on their own experiences to understand the theoretical and practical problems of living in this new natural-and-social world. This exciting and original text will be essential reading for anyone who wants to understand more clearly the role and limitations of technological and scientific progress in contemporary society.