chapter  3
49 Pages

Human Ecology and Cultural Ecology

ByJohn W. Bennett

This chapter have two main objectives: first, to provide a conception of human ecology that will permit us to define cultural ecology—that is, where, in the overall corpus of human ecology, does this specialized field find a place? The second objective is to find a paradigm for human ecology that includes the socially problematic aspects of man's relations with Nature, in order to build a sense of policy-relevance into the science. The bias in the definition of human ecology simply makes it, for scientific purposes, virtually identical with cultural ecology. The exponential curve or something like it characterizes the long span of Homo sapiens' history, then curves of energy transformation of varying shapes characterize the particular adaptive styles of historically bounded population groups or societies. Or, not all human societies show the exponential increase curve of population, energy, and tools. Beneath the transformation sequence are two terms: "Technology" and "Social Organization".