Bronfenbrenner book sums up human development

ITHACA, N.Y. -- Cornell University Professor Urie Bronfenbrenner, among the world's best-known psychologists, has been publishing articles and books for 60 years on what really matters in the development of human beings. Now he has pulled his ideas together and published a new book that traces the historical development of his groundbreaking bioecological model of human development and detailing how it can be applied via programs and policies.

Making Human Beings Human: Bioecological Perspectives on Human Development (Sage Publications, 2004) is Bronfenbrenner's culminating work and statement that he hopes will shape the future of his field. Bronfenbrenner, the Jacob Gould Schurman Professor Emeritus of Human Development and of Psychology at Cornell, is a co-founder of the federal Head Start program and is widely regarded as one of the world's leading scholars in developmental psychology, child-rearing and human ecology -- the interdisciplinary domain he created.

His model of the ecology of human development acknowledges that humans don't develop in isolation, but in relation to their family and home, school, community and society. Each of these ever-changing and multilevel environments, as well as interactions among these environments, are key to development, he says.

Before Bronfenbrenner, child psychologists studied children, sociologists focused on families, anthropologists considered culture, economists the economic framework of the times and so on. Bronfenbrenner's groundbreaking concept of the ecology of human development, however, viewed these environments -- from the family to current society and the times -- as nested settings in which a person develops over time throughout the life course. Since 1979, when Bronfenbrenner published his bioecological theory, he has transformed how many social and behavioral scientists approach the study of human beings and their environments.

The theory led to new directions in basic researc

Contact: Susan S. Lang
Cornell University News Service

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