Sociology as a discipline has until recently been indifferent to ecological concerns. Departing from the traditional sociological insistence that social facts can be explained by other social facts alone, environmental sociology recognizes that physical environments can influence and be influenced by human societies and behaviour. The sub-discipline of environmental sociology is almost a direct response of the environmental movement.

Increasing awareness about the different forms of environmental degradation in India and their impact on society has its resonance in the debates in civil society and government policy. Faced with a huge ecological crisis and rising social conflicts over the dwindling resource base, issues of environmental degradation are the basis of research in sociology and the social sciences.

In this chapter, the attempt is to map the development of the sub-discipline of sociology of environment within western India, particularly in Maharashtra. In interrogating the development of the sub-discipline, a critical gender lens will be used to understand it. Furthermore, the attempt will be to see if it has simply added women into the given equation or whether new epistemologies and methodologies are being worked out.

The chapter attempts to highlight the inter-linkages between gender and environment and interrogate the contribution of some women sociologists to the development of the discipline in the western region of India, particularly Maharashtra.