Sociology Index

Human Ecology Abstracts

Books on Human Ecology, Human Ecology

Critical Human Ecology: Historical Materialism and Natural Laws - York, Richard. Mancus, Philip
Paper presented at the annual meeting of the American Sociological Association.

Abstract: Laying the foundations for a critical human ecology (CHE) that combines the strengths of the human ecology tradition in environmental sociology with those of historical materialism.

We develop our case for the importance of a critically informed human ecology by examining its position vis--vis critical theories with respect to three key meta-theoretical issues: materialist versus idealist conceptualizations in the social sciences, the respective importance and roles of historical and a historical causal explanations, and the difference between structuralist and functionalist interpretations of phenomena.

CHE breaks with the idealism of Western Marxism that has dominated academic neo-Marxist thought, advocating the pursuit of a materialist, scientific methodology in dialectical perspective for the explanation of social and ecological change. This project also involves critiquing the ahistorical and functionalist aspects of traditional human ecology. We explore the theoretical potential of critical human ecology for analyzing the sustainability of human populations.

Ecology and Human Ecology: A Comparison of Theories in the Biological and Social Sciences by Peter J Richerson, American Ethnologist, Vol. 4, No.1.(1977) - Ecology has been used frequently by social scientists as a source of theoretical models, and biological ecologists have often applied their theory to human populations. Problems have attended these cross-disciplinary enterprises, including inappropriate uses of teleological models and a failure by both biologists and social scientists to understand the theoretical implications of culture and technology for ecological models. Attention to these problems will increase the applicability of ecological theories in the social sciences.

Geography as Human Ecology - A Decade of Progress in a Quarter Century
Philip W. Porter, University of Minnesota
The contest between geographers and their adversaries is identical with the old controversy between historical and physical methods. One party claims that the ideal aim of science ought to be the discovery of general laws; the other maintains that it is the investigation of phenomena themselves.... While physical science arises from the logical and aesthetic demands of the human mind, cosmography has its source in the personal feelings of man towards the world, towards the phe nomena surrounding him. We may call this an "affective" impulse in contrast to the aesthetic impulse. Goethe expressed this idea with admirable clearness: "It seems to me that every phenomenon, every fact, itself is the really interesting object. Whoever explains it, or connects it with other events, usually only amuses himself or makes sport of it, as, for instance, the naturalist or historian. But a single action or event is interesting, not because it is explainable, but because it is true." -F. Boas, 1887

Changes in human ecology and behavior in relation to the emergence of diarrheal diseases, including cholera - M M Levine and O S Levine
Department of Medicine, University of Maryland School of Medicine, Baltimore.
Abstract: Human populations throughout the world can be found in diverse conditions. A proportion of the population of developing countries lives in deprived conditions characterized by ramshackle housing, lack of piped water and sanitation, and widespread fecal contamination of the environment. Enteric infections, particularly due to bacterial pathogenes, are readily transmitted under these circumstances. In contrast, the majority of inhabitants of industrialized countries live in a sanitary environment that generally discourages the transmission of enteric pathogenes, particularly bacteria. In both these ecologic niches, changes in human ecology and behavior are leading to the emergence of certain enteric infections. Relevant factors in developing areas include urbanization (leading to periurban slums), diminished breastfeeding, and political upheaval that results in population migrations. In industrialized areas, large-scale food production (e.g., enormous poultry farms), distribution, and retailing (e.g., fast-food chains) create opportunities where widespread and extensive outbreaks of food-borne enteric infection can ensue if a breakdown in food hygiene occurs.

Human ecology and behavior and sexually transmitted bacterial infections
K K Holmes, Department of Medicine, University of Washington, Seattle.
Abstract: The three direct determinants of the rate of spread of sexually transmitted diseases (STDs) are sexual behaviors, the mean duration of infectiousness, and the mean efficiency of sexual transmission of each STD. Underlying ecological and behavioral factors that operate through one or more of these direct determinants lie on a continuum, ranging from those most proximate back to those more remote (in time or mechanism) from the direct determinants. Most remote and least modifiable are the historical stages of economic development that even today conspicuously influence patterns of sexual behavior. Next are the distribution and changing patterns of climate, hygiene, and population density; the global population explosion and stages of the demographic transition; and ongoing changes in human physiology (e.g., menarche at younger age) and culture (e.g., later marriage). More proximate on the continuum are war, migration, and travel; and current policies for economic development and social welfare. Most recent or modifiable are technologic and commercial product development (e.g., oral contraceptives); circumcision, condom, spermicide, and contraception practices; patterns of illicit drug use that influence sexual behaviors; and the accessibility, quality, and use of STD health care. These underlying factors help explain why the curable bacterial STDs are epidemic in developing countries and why the United States is the only industrialized country that has failed to control bacterial STDs during the AIDS era.

Human Ecology The Science of Social Adjustment
THE interest of men of science in the study of human relationships is growing apace, much to the benefit of sociology. Sociologists have in the past been far too prone to assume that their subject can be developed in the library; social philosophy has steadily progressed as a result, while social science, properly so called, has lagged behind.

Human Ecology is literally a science of the ecology of human populations, especially of the variety of contemporary populations living in Asian and Oceania countries. "How the population of living organism utilize the environment to procure food/nutrition and to reproduce next generations?", the other is a question relatively emphasized in the ecology of human, "how the human activities impact the environment (including earth), and how the environment modified as such impact the human health/survival.

Abstract: interaction together with ideas of late 19th century geographers merged
into the human ecology model of the Chicago School of Sociology.

Abstract - Kees Jansen
This detailed case study draws on political economy, human ecology, critical realism ... different points of view.' Norman Long (Professor of Rural Sociology)

Human ecology is an educational philosophy that applies knowledge from multiple disciplines to address environmental and social problems.