The World as a System - Human Ecology Between 1935 and 1970 (Hawley)
|Development of Human Ecology||3|
|World as a System Approach by Amos H. Hawley and R. R. McKenzie||6|
Early human ecologists used the analogy of plant communities, as a way of understanding urban communities. The plant community acquires its organization in a succession process, an orderly sequence of invasions and displacements leading to an equilibrium and therefore many features of modern human community seemed to have similarities in the plant community
The influential Chicago School in the beginning of 20th century had the main following principles in the human ecology – human ecology is a perspective that attempts to apply biological processes and concepts to the social world, and the natural environment is an instrumental force in determining city characteristics, which were regarded as social models for human societies. However, direct links between human communities and the surrounding environment were not clearly seen; as Robert Park wrote in “The Urban Community as a Spatial Pattern and a Moral Order” in 1920s: “it is not man, but the community not man’s relation to the earth which he inhibits, but his relations to other men, that concerns us most”.
However, as the time passed, new definition and understanding of human ecology was needed, because of increased scientific research in the topic. This was logical continuation, that approach towards human ecology from the primary concept of similarities between human and plant communities, developed to understanding of community’s collective life, as an adaptive process consisting in an interaction of environment, population and organization. Human ecology was then defined by Hawley as the study of the form and development of the community in human population.
In 1959 Otis Dudley Duncan created his ecological complex, which consisted of 4 major parts, organized in a system :
- population, environment, technology and organization (See Fig. 1 next page)
From these principles for basic features of human ecology stand out:
1. Human ecology maintains that community organization arises from the interaction of population and environment.
2. That implies an emphasis on population as a point of reference. Human ecology suggests that understanding the details of human action are not necessary for an explanation of social structure.
3. Human ecology treats social organization as a complete and self-sustaining whole. That is, as a system of relationships between differentiated parts. Those relationships enable the population to maintain its identity.
4. Human ecology give the idea of equilibrium a central position in its analysis .
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- The World as a System - Human Ecology Between 1935 and 1970 (Hawley)
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