Ecologism Questions, Mark Scheme (Indicative Content) and Examiner's Reports

This document contains all the questions on ecologism from January 2010 to January 2012. In italics are the comments from the examiners, taken from Edexcel's Examiner's Reports. The indicative content has been condensed into bullet points. This should exhibit exactly what an examiner is looking for in an A2 Unit 4B answer.

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Preview of Ecologism Questions, Mark Scheme (Indicative Content) and Examiner's Reports

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Ecologism Exam Questions
January 2010
There were only a small number of entries for this unit. The standard of the responses was variable, however.
In many cases, candidates had not been appropriately prepared to deal effectively with the issues addressed.
Giving the cross-cutting nature of the ideologies studied in Unit 4B ­ nationalism, feminism, multiculturalism and
ecologism ­ candidates are certain to benefit from a sound grounding in the ideologies that are encountered in
Unit 3B, particularly liberalism and socialism. The standard of performance in relation to multiculturalism and
ecologism questions, the topics that are new to the specification, was generally unimpressive, but this also applied
to some responses to nationalism and feminism questions. On the other hand, there were a small number of high
quality responses. This tended to apply mainly to the feminism questions, where the concept of patriarchy was
sometimes clearly defined and explained, its implications being discussed with insight, while feminism's
relationship to other political ideologies was at times discussed with a high level of analytical insight.
How have ecologists revised conventional ethical thought?
Conventional ethical thought is anthropocentric, orientated around the pleasure, needs and
interests of human beings
It is reflected in utilitarianism and the idea of human rights
Tried to establish the idea that people have moral obligations towards future generations
`Biocentric equality' ­ all species have equal moral wroth (Singer extends utilitarianism to attach
moral rights to all species that are capable or suffering)
`Deep ecologist' argue that nature has value in its own right ­ `Land ethic' ­ belief that a thing is
right when it tends to preserve the integrity, stability and beauty of nature
Explain the ideas of eco-socialism.
Based on idea that capitalism is the enemy of the environment
Eco-socialists advance a critique of capitalism
Characterised by the destruction of the natural environment, as both human labour and the
natural world are exploited; they are treated as economic resources
Springs from existence of private property which legitimises human domination over nature and
encourage by the profit motive and competition ­ economy over environmentalism
Socialism is naturally ecological
Wealth owned in common: used in interests of all = long-term interests of humanity including
ecological impact of economic activity
June 2010
The general standard of responses to this paper was broadly in line with previous examination sessions. A
significant discriminator in relation to essay responses was the success or otherwise of candidates in meeting the
new expectations about synopticity. In most cases, candidates were aware that synopticity required that they
show an awareness of two or more sides of an argument, usually related to tensions between sub-traditions
within an ideology, or between an ideology and opposing ideologies. In other cases, however, candidate
performance was damaged by a tendency to adopt a purely analytical, or worse, a purely descriptive, approach to
the question set. Candidates will do well to remember that all essay questions are now an invitation for them to
engage in a debate or argument. Candidates who do this effectively will tend to gain higher marks for AO2,
synopticity and, in all probability, AO3 as well. The performance of candidates in relation to the topics those are
new to this specification ­ multiculturalism and ecologism ­ was gratifyingly high in many cases. This showed that
teachers and students had often done a considerable amount of work in getting on top of the relevant ideas and
arguments. Sadly, this did not apply to all responses, and in the case of multiculturalism in particular, a small
minority of candidates wrote about it as if it were a political issue rather than an arena of ideological and
theoretical debate.

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Distinguish between anthropocentrism and ecocentrism.
Very few candidates who attempted this question did not have at least a basic grasp of the two terms, generally
associating the former with human interests and the latter with the interests of the wider ecosystem. However,
only the better responses were able to provide an explicit and reliable definition of the terms in question. It was
also surprising that while candidates were able to provide good examples of ecocentrism; this was far less
common in the case of anthropocentrism.…read more

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United in emphasising the vital relationship between humankind and nature, accepting
that humankind will only survive and thrive if it respects ecological principles of
harmony and equilibrium
o Diverse ideology that applies the principle of ecology in different ways, cutting across a
range of other ideological traditions
o `Shallow' vs.…read more

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Anarchists distaste for materialism and consumerism influenced post-materialism of many
forms of ecologism
`The goals of ecologism can only be achieved through radical social change'. Discuss.
There were a small number of very effective answers to this question that recognised that ecologism is a broad
ideological tradition that embraces quite different views about the extent to which social change and ecological
change are linked.…read more

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Shallow' ­ seek to reconcile anthropocentrism and ecologism: associated with sustainability and
conservation (see also eco-socialism/eco-anarchism)
`Deep' ­ reject all forms.…read more


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