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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. Dr. Ronald J. Werner-Wilson

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. Dr. Ronald J. Werner-Wilson

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. Dr. Ronald J. Werner-Wilson

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. Dr. Ronald J. Werner-Wilson

6 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. Dr. Ronald J. Werner-Wilson

7 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. Dr. Ronald J. Werner-Wilson

8 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? Dr. Ronald J. Werner-Wilson

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

10 Human Ecological Concepts
Human ecosystem: Interaction between humans and their natural environment, including physical-biological, social-cultural, 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. Dr. Ronald J. Werner-Wilson

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

12 Family Ecological Concepts
Inclusive definition: Includes persons related by blood, marriage, or adoption. Also includes sets of interdependent but independent persons who share common goals, common resources, 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 Dr. Ronald J. Werner-Wilson

13 Family Ecological Concepts (cont.)
Decision-making Central cybernetic control system of family organization. The decision-making process involves: recognition of the need to make a decision; identification , evaluation, and comparison of alternatives; 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. Dr. Ronald J. Werner-Wilson

14 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? Dr. Ronald J. Werner-Wilson

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