Social Ecology: A Critical Analysis

Social Ecology: A Critical Analysis

Social Ecology: A Critical Analysis

Social Ecology: A Critical Analysis

Excerpt

The ecological school is one of the most definite and influential schools in American sociology at the present time. It has to its credit not only an important series of factual studies but also a firmly established doctrine. While certain changes and modifications in the ecological theory and methods may well be expected, it has been surmised from the analysis of the development of the school since its inception that it has persisted in its fundamentals and that whatever changes may occur will not markedly affect the essence or the direction of the school. There is apparent, moreover, continued adherence to these fundamental principles in the great majority of the individual factual studies.

It is the object of this study to present and examine the position of the school, its fundamental concepts, and the methodology upon which these studies hinge and which serves as their guiding principle. For it is only as we discern the co-ordinating and organizing factor of the individual researches that we can fully appreciate their significance and their contribution to sociology. With the ever-increasing numbers of ecological researches, there is always danger of losing sight of the wider perspective within which their scientific utility and fruitfulness can be fully recognized. Furthermore, the bearing of the factual studies upon the principles which give the school its name and its claim must serve to indicate the rôle of human ecology in the field of sociology. For in a truly scientific system every research is related to a problem and every problem to a generalization or hypothesis.

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