SOCIOLOGY OF EMOTIONS: Naturalism in the service of sociology, that is, the beginnings of American Social Ecology
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The perception of reality by social ecologists has its source in the life sciences and refersto the organicist theory in sociology. Proponents of this school assumed that, in humancommunities, creating a definite relationship between biotic and rather more intangibleaspects of the social system is secondary to the influence exercised by material conditions. Social ecology focuses on the way in which patterns of social relations are created bygroup who are adapting to new environments. This approach led to Robert Park’s naturalisticattitude and and to him and his followers exploring the development of Americancities. Park proposed that the development of the city itself is the cause of social changewhich is taking place, as well as of its pathological side-effects. Examining towns whichwere growing dynamically, the researchers themselves were involved in hostile conflictsset in an environment characterised by the survival of the fittest. Social ecologists havepostulated this approach as the naturalistic vision in social research. They saw the needfor becoming engaged in the community in order to know the context of its activities andthey were convinced that this was the best way of understanding and explaining humanbehavior. Despite the explicit criticism from anti-naturalistic sociologists, I argue that theproposed pattern of sociology generated significant results and has a practical continuationto the present day.
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