Human Ecology theory

Ecological Concepts in Anthropological Human Ecology
August 5, 2014 – 09:35 am

Ecological Concepts in Anthropological Human Ecology:

Illustrations from Mormon Settlement in Northeastern Arizona.

William S. Abruzzi

in Scott Wright, Thomas Deitz, Richard Borden, Gerald Young and Gregory Guagnano, eds.,

Human Ecology: Crossing Boundaries. Society for Human Ecology.

College Park, MD, pp. 255-271.


Considerable disagreement exists within anthropology regarding the application of ecological concepts and principles to the study of human social behavior. Although many anthropologists have applied ecological concepts and principles in their study of human populations, (cf. Barth 1956; Rappaport 1968; Gall and Saxe 1977; Leone 1979; Winterhalder and Smith 1981; Abruzzi 1982, 1987, 1989, 1993) other anthropologists have rejected such applications as largely naive and inappropriate uses of biological concepts (cf. Vayda and McCay 1975; Bennett 1976; Lees and Bates 1984; Smith 1984). Such disagreement even exists among anthropologists who have adopted an explicit ecological orientation (see Moran 1984). Ecological anthropologists who view themselves as human ecologists generally see ecology as providing a testable framework for examining both human and nonhuman social behavior within a unified theoretical perspective. Those who view themselves as cultural ecologists, on the other hand, are more likely to reject a strict application of ecological principles to the study of the human condition on the grounds that culture acts as a mediating force which renders human adaptation to the environment analytically distinct from that of all other species.

Popular Q&A
What is the meaning of cybernetics can you give me an answer in relation to human ecology.

Cybernetics is the interdisciplinary study of the structure of complex systems, especially communication processes, control mechanisms and feedback principles. Cybernetics is closely related to control theory and systems theory, but both in its origins and in its evolution in the second-half of the 20th century, cybernetics is equally applicable to social (that is, language-based) systems.
Cybernetics is always and only involved when the system under scrutiny is involved in a closed loop, where action by the system in an environment causes some change in the environment AND that change…

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