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Human Ecology Theory Bubolz, M. M., & Sontag, M. S. (1993). Human ecology theory. In P. G. Boss, W. J. Doherty, R. LaRossa, W. R. Schumm, & S. K. Steinmetz.

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Presentation on theme: "Human Ecology Theory Bubolz, M. M., & Sontag, M. S. (1993). Human ecology theory. In P. G. Boss, W. J. Doherty, R. LaRossa, W. R. Schumm, & S. K. Steinmetz."— Presentation transcript:

1 Human Ecology Theory Bubolz, M. M., & Sontag, M. S. (1993). Human ecology theory. In P. G. Boss, W. J. Doherty, R. LaRossa, W. R. Schumm, & S. K. Steinmetz (Eds.), Sourcebook of family theories and methods: A contextual approach (pp ). New York: Plenum Press.

2 Dr. Ronald J. Werner-Wilson Basic Premises  Families interact with their environment to form an ecosystem.  Families carry out the following for the good of itself as well as the good of society:  biological sustenance,  economic maintenance,  psychosocial and nurturance functions.  All peoples of the world are interdependent on the resources of the earth: there is a balance between  cooperation and integration in the ecosystem  with demands of the individual for autonomy and freedom.

3 Dr. Ronald J. Werner-Wilson Assumptions:  Families and the environment are interdependent.  Families are part of the total life system, so they are interdependent with other forms of life.  Adaptation is a continuing process in families. They can “respond, change, develop, and act on and modify their environment.”  All parts of the environment are interrelated and influence each other.  Families interact with multiple environments.  Families require matter-energy.

4 Dr. Ronald J. Werner-Wilson Assumptions (cont.)  Interactions between families and environments are guided by two sets of rules:  Physical and biological laws of nature (e.g., laws of thermodynamics).  Human-derived rules (e.g., social norms).  Environments do not determine human behavior but pose limitations and constraints as well as possibilities and opportunities for families.  Decision making is the central control process in families that directs actions for attaining individual and family goals.

5 Dr. Ronald J. Werner-Wilson Underlying Values  Survival: maintenance and sustainability are important features of life.  “Four great virtues that contribute to the ‘ultimate good’”:  economic adequacy,  justice,  freedom,  peacefulness.  Other virtues that contribute to the quality of life:  health,  education and learning,  loving and nurturing relationships,  productive work and work environments,  experiences and symbolic systems that sustain meaning and a sense of community,  beauty,  trustworthiness.

6 Dr. Ronald J. Werner-Wilson Underlying Values (cont.)  Scholars and practitioners, acting on these values, are expected to attend to the problems of groups and subcultures who lack  power,  self-determination,  and access to resources.  Humans should be responsible to other living species and the nonliving environment.

7 Dr. Ronald J. Werner-Wilson Consistency Between Family Ecology and Feminist Theory  Hermeneutic (post-positivism) and critical science perspectives are necessary to gain valid knowledge and bring about change.  Recognition of a plurality of family forms.  Acknowledge the importance of sociohistorical and cultural context and environment.

8 Dr. Ronald J. Werner-Wilson Summary of the Main Problems or Questions  How do families function and adapt to  assure survival,  improvement of quality of life,  and sustain natural resources?  How do families allocate and manage resources to meet the needs of individuals and the family as a group?  How does environmental (e.g., meso-, exo-, and macrosystems) change influence human development?  How can families and family professional contribute to the process of positive change?  What should be done to enhance the quality of life while conserving the environment?

9 Dr. Ronald J. Werner-Wilson Figure 17-1: Family Ecosystem Natural Physical-Biological Environment Family Human Built Environment Social-Cultural Environment

10 Dr. Ronald J. Werner-Wilson Human Ecological Concepts  Human ecosystem:  Interaction between humans and their natural environment, including è physical-biological, è social-cultural, è and human-built.  Family ecosystem: family system interacting with its environment (see Figure 17-1).  Environment: totality of surroundings and context. Surroundings include  physical,  biological,  social,  economic,  political,  aesthetic,  and structural.

11 Dr. Ronald J. Werner-Wilson Human Ecological Concepts (cont.)  Adaptation:  Behavior of living systems, including families, that changes è the state or structure of the system, è the environment, è or both.  Adaptation is recursive: humans adapt to environment and change it.

12 Dr. Ronald J. Werner-Wilson Family Ecological Concepts  Family  Inclusive definition: è Includes persons related by blood, marriage, or adoption. è Also includes sets of interdependent but independent persons who share è common goals, è common resources, è and a commitment to each other.  Family members are simultaneously autonomous and dependent.  Needs: requirements for survival (e.g., sustenance).  Values:  Human conceptions about what is good, right, and worthwhile  They are an integral part of family processes.  Management: comprehensive process to meet goals and realize values

13 Dr. Ronald J. Werner-Wilson Family Ecological Concepts (cont.)  Decision-making  Central cybernetic control system of family organization.  The decision-making process involves: è recognition of the need to make a decision; è identification, evaluation, and comparison of alternatives; è choice of alternative.  Human development:  Ongoing process of interrelated change in ability to perceive, conceptualize, and act.  Development is dynamic.  Development usually leads to greater levels of sophistication.  Quality of human life: extent to which basic needs are met and values realized; synonymous with well-being.  Quality of the environment:  capacity for supplying human and non-human resources;  and capacity for sustaining life and the non- human environment.

14 Dr. Ronald J. Werner-Wilson Limitations of the Theory  Are systems concepts compatible with family ecology theory? Are mechanistic or biological principles generalizable to human and family systems?  Is it too broad and inclusive?  New constructs may create confusion or redundancy.  Are the concepts too abstract?


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