Social Ecology

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Item Code: NAH544
Publisher: D. K. Printworld Pvt. Ltd.
Author: Radhakamal Mukerjee
Language: English
Edition: 2014
ISBN: 9788124607480
Pages: 392
Cover: Hardcover
Other Details 8.8 inch x 5.8 inch
Weight 600 gm
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Book Description
About The Book

This book of Radhakamal Mukerjee, with an "introduction" of Klaus Seeland, is an authoritative study on "social ecology". Social ecology is different in scope from human ecology. Since there is whole gamut of confusion about the term social ecology and its relation with sociology, here is an attempt to detail the essential principles of social ecology and its scientific fruitfulness for sociology.

This volume is an endeavour to present the major ecological concepts and processes which may help in refashioning the framework of sociology. It is also an attempt to deal with a comparative social ecology on which rest the foundations of comparative economics and sociology. Social ecology studies the place, occupation and time relations of persons and groups in their processes of competition, co-operation, conflict, accommodation and succession. It is a vast and virgin field orienting social phenomena on the basis of the give- and-take between life, mind and region.

This book is so comprehensive that it should contribute to a scientific classification of social-ecological concepts and to the development of a methodology according to which social economy may form the basis of a new functional and quantitative sociology. Therefore, it should be a referral book for sociology students, teachers and researchers.


About The Author

Radhakamal Mukerjee (1889-1968), professor of economics and sociology, was Vice-Chancellor of the University of Lucknow. He was one of the founders of Lucknow School of Sociology. A prolific writer, he has to his credit numerous titles on economics and sociology. Principles of Comparative Economics (2 vols.), The Foundations of Indian Economics, Rural Economy of India, Democracies of the East, Food Planning for Four Hundred Million, Regional Sociology, The Theory and Art of Mysticism, Groundwork of Economics, Migrant Asia, The Regional Balance of Man, The Land Problems of India, The Changing Face of Bengal, Man and His Habitation, The Institutional Theory of Economics, and The Political Economy of Population were his other books. Prof. Mukerjee also co- authored Introduction to Social Psychology (with N.N. Sen Gupta). He edited two books - Economic Problems of Modern India (2 vols.), and Fields and Farmers in Oudh.



Human ecology is an infant science which has obtained rather quick recognition as a basic discipline for all social sciences. It has emerged as a synthetic study that deals with the triadic balance of the environment-function-organism, and seeks to unify and co-ordinate all the sciences of man. Human ecology, like plant and animal ecology, is a sub-division of general ecology. Social ecology is different in scope from human ecology which deals with the forms and processes of human individual adjustments to the environment. The field of social ecology is the study of the adjustments of man's social structures and functions, of the processes of interaction between region, occupation and society - the sociological equivalents of environment, function and organism - out of which arise all social phenomena. The community aspect of human ecology may also be called synecology, a term used by the plant ecologists who differentiate this from autoecology that deals with the study of the individual in relation to the environment, physical and organic. There has been considerable disagreement in respect of both the conception and scope of human ecology. The reason is not far to seek. Since human ecology rests on a close working relationship between geography, biology, economics and demography, each one of which deals with some part of the environment-function- organism triad, different investigators have stressed fundamental ecological concepts for sociology from different fields and angles. The time has certainly come for a clarification of the essential principles of social ecology and their scientific utility and fruitfulness for sociology.

I have endeavoured in this volume to present the major ecological concepts and processes which may help in refashioning the framework of sociology. The fundament, unit of study for sociology is the region. The region is at once an ecological aggregation of persons, an economic framework and a cultural order. It is at once a faithful expression of the distribution of population, resources and occupations, and the interrelated cultural unity. The spatial pattern of the community, the typical arrangement of population, service and institutions and social stratification determine the type and direction of social values and culture. The region shows a basic organic unity, first, in respect of its natural differentiation from other regions; second, in the spatial relationships of population; and, third, in the pattern of social processes, relations and values, moulded by the interchange between region and people in the context of history and heritage. Thus the region as a physical and cultural Gestalt * is a dynamic system in which are balanced and epitomized in their operation all the formative factors of social life. Social ecology is the sociological method which gives us the region or ecological order as the natural frame of reference for the classification of social phenomena and cultural processes. It has implication for all societies and cultures, but at the same time brings into the forefront social types and cultural variations which influence social behaviours and organizations. In a sense therefore, the volume may be regarded as an attempt to write a comparative social ecology on which rest the foundations of comparative economics and sociology.

Region, population and society are not three separate factors. They mutually influence one another and form a natural balance, each part of which can be understood in terms of the other. Resource pattern, population type and growth, and pattern of living are reciprocally inter-dependent. Social ecology considers society as man's response to an increase of population, which initiates and improves division of labour, social organization and the transmission of the legacy of tools, occupations, patterns of living and traditions. On the other hand, society regulates its population growth, social stratification and role of individuals so as to fit harmoniously into the region.

Within each region the unit of investigation of sociology is the community rather than man, the relationship rather than the individual. Georg Simmel, indeed, observed long ago: "Society exists wherever a number of individuals enter into reciprocal relations with one another". Similarly, according to A. Vierkandt, sociology is concerned with the analysis of fundamental relationships between persons, such as leadership, deference, submission, struggle and power. The method adopted is described as "phenomenological" according to the usage of the term by the philosopher Husserl. With this emphasis of inter-personal relations, sociology finds its proper subject matter in the processes of man's role, status and mobility, and turns from speculation to concrete investigation. Just as the region is a typical resource pattern for population and a typical system of interrelated roles or occupations of individual inhabitants, so society is a configuration of interrelated statuses. Status is assigned by the community not merely to individuals, groups and occupations but also to objects, institutions, concepts and beliefs in ecological and social space.

Status, to be sure, is the single primary datum of socio- logy; it is a reality at once universal, concrete and measurable within the social milieu including animal society. From Comte’s explanation of social physics to the Marxian theory of class consciousness and conflict, from Herbert Spencer's account of social differentiation as a universal bio-social process to the Eugenist's correlation of socio-economic status and innate ability, from Sorokin's theory of social mobility to Pareto’s concept of the elite we have the recognition of status as universal and basic social uniformity. It is the task of sociology to study the nature of the status system and domination deference relations as well as the behaviour of individual (mobility) within their ecological and social boundaries, both quantitatively and qualitatively. Status is the index at once, individual achievement and social continuity, social dominance or distance, the index of differential achievement of individuals, selected by the ecological processes of competition, specialization and segregation in the dynamic social world.

Status and distance both imply the acceptance or recognition by the society of the position or role of the individual, and group in collective life. Society is something more than an ecological aggregate of individuals or an economic framework of division and specialization of labour. It is characterized by a legacy of culture, a hierarchy of norms and values which introduce status-seeking, status-gaining, status-losing and status-regaining as universal social processes with their ecological, economic and cultural aspects. Status which is begotten by ecology and nurtured by culture converts an individual into a person, his position, role or job into a wished for pattern of social behaviour, his mobility into a moral striving and achievement. There is a give-and-take between the community and the person's goals and purposes which make status assignment the sine qua non of the social process.

Stratificatory status, rooted as it is in the adjustment of population to the region, weaves the characteristic group pattern, interpersonal relations and ways of living of a people. It not only provides each person with incentives and opportunities to rise in the social scale in order that he may not only attain status, privilege and self-competence, but also expresses an integral system of attitudes and goals and the moral evaluation of the regional community. Each man's ecological and social status is different from his fellow man's. It is defined by his membership of group life; while groups and classes form and reform, and the status system undergoes alteration in obedience to basic ecological, occupational and social adjustments. Not only his own position or status and occupation but also those of his segregated group, whether dominant or subordinate, are in perpetual flux. Social ecology studies the place, occupation and time relations of persons and groups in their processes of competition, co-operation, conflict, accommodation and succession. These reveal both symbiosis and equilibrium as well as disorganization and disequilibrium with contrasted human relations, attitudes and values. In social ecology the spatial position or status of individuals and social groups, indeed, provide the key to the delineation of the community and of social relations, behaviours and attitudes.




  Foreword v
  Preface ix
1 Society and Symbiosis 1
  The Ecological Processes in Human Society: Distribution 1
  Symbiosis or Division of Labour 4
  Mobility 6
  Competitive Co-operation 8
  The Evolution of Co-operation 9
  Co-ordination of Different Biological Needs of Individuals and the Group 11
  Mind and Sociality 13
  Ecologic, Sexual and Family Integration 14
  Its Combination in the Social Life of Early Man 15
  Evolution of Tools and Traditions in Social Animals 18
  Distinction between Society and Culture 22
  Disharmony between Sex and Gregariousness 23
2 Limits of Competition and Specialization 26
  The Contrasted, Fundamental Habit Patterns of Competition and Symbiosis 26
  Stratification, a Fundamental Law 28
  Reduction of Competition 30
  Stratified Specialization among the Social Insects 32
  Specialization and Constraint of the Single Organism 34
  Specialization versus Plasticity in Human Society 37
3 Functions of Dominance and Distance 39
  Social Stratification of Trees, Animals and Men 39
  Circularity of Dominance Relationships in Bird Society L 41
  The Biting or Bullying Order in Mammalian Society 43
  Serial Subordination in Anthropoid Society 43
  The Biological Significance of Dominance 45
  The Role of the Leader in Animal Society 46
  Female Societies, Animal and Human 47
  Ways of Expression of Dominant Behaviour 50
  The Roles of Social Distance 53
  Measurement of Social Proximity and Distance 55
  Social Distance and Social Progress 60
4 Ecological and Social Pyramids 61
  The Universality of Stratification and Integration 61
  The Pyramids of Industrial and Agricultural Communities 63
  The Social Pyramid as an Expression of the Scheme of Values 67
  Transformation of Ecological Base and Values 69
  Succession and Invasion, Ecological and Social 71
5 The Dynamics of Human Aggregation and Circulation 78
  The Hierarchy of Habitations 78
  Difference between Concentration and Co-ordination 81
  The Central-Place Scheme of Distribution of Habitations 83
  Measurement of Centrality 86
  The Flow of Human Circulation 87
  The Route of Circulation 89
  The Expansibility of Cities 90
  The Centrifugal Forces 94
  The Role of the Village in Human Circulation 96
  The Tributary Area of Towns 98
  Pattern of Urban Growth and Distribution 102
  The Phenomena of Invasion and Succession 104
  Measurement of Dominance and Invasion 105
  Relation between the Growth-Structure of a City and its Physical Features 108
  Central and Axial Growth 109
6 The Ecological Balance of Population 113
  Synecology: The Science of Interdependent Populations 113
  The Circulation of Population Elements in an Ecological System 115
  The Organization of Animal Populations in Grasslands 116
  Animal Communities in the Tropical Forest 120
  Checks of Animal Populations 123
  The Pyramidal Structure of Animal Communities 125
  Man's Disturbance of the Balance of Nature 127
  Man's Failure in the Dry Grasslands 129
  Biological Status of Population 133
  The Depletion and Disintegration of the Region 135
  Limitations of Man's Dominance: Climate and Disease 138
  Climatic Controls for Cereals 142
  Ecological Principles of Colonization 143
  Instances of the Failure of Agriculture 145
  Climatic Controls for Domesticated Animals 148
  The Need of a Planned Ecology for Man's Permanence 150
7 Status: Ecological and Social 154
  The Universality of Stratification 154
  Distinction between Status and Position 155
  Threefold Relationship Involved in Status 157
  Status and Mobility, the Primary Data of Sociology 159
  Status and Personality 161
  Status Determination in Animal and Human Society 163
  Criteria of Status Assignment 165
  Conquest and Status 167
  The Predominance of Stratification over Mobility 169
  The Open and Closed Groups: Class and Caste 170
  Class Divisions in Industrial Society 172
  Patterns of Culture and Status 174
8 Man's Social and Moral Boundaries 176
  Man's Limited Field of Activity and Goals 176
  Social Pathological Features in Caste and Class 177
  The Standard of Living, the Symbol of Status 179
  The Conflict between Status and Family Life 182
  Intermingling of Class and Caste in the East and the West 182
  Stratification in Relation to Technology 185
  The Role of the Individual in Status Acquisition 187
  Interweaving of Ecological and Social Relationship 188
  The Dynamic Concourse of Ecology, Mind and Culture 190
  The Ethics of Appropriation and Participation 192
  The Apotheosis of Status into a Religion in China and India 193
  The Reconciliation of Limited Social Space or Status with Universalities in the East 198
  Life-Planning in Terms of Definite and Restricted Life-Goals 200
9 Mobility: Ecological and Social 204
  Types of Ecological Mobility 208
  Ecological and Social Relationships 209
  Ecological and Social Mobility in Village and City 211
  Mobility and Civilization 215
10 Time, Technics and Society 224
  Ecological and Personal Time 224
  The Genesis of Social Time 226
  Coincidence of Agricultural and Social Rhythms 229
  The Imperatives of Mechanical Time and Rhythm 234
  Punctuality as a Social Habit 236
  Effects of Machine and Speed upon Human Body and Mind 238
  Disintegration of the Rhythm of Life 241
  The Need of a Planned Technology 245
  Technological Idleness 247
11 Freedom of Social Mobility 251
  The Modem Stratified Class System 251
  Dangers to Democracy and Culture 253
  Contrasted Methods in Democratic and Dictator States 254
  Contrasted Means of Social Control in the Primary and Secondary Group Environment 256
  The Need of Revaluation and of a New Ethical Personality 259
  Old Primary Group Mores as Misfits 261
  Ethical Demands of the Secondary Group Environment 264
  Mystical Religion as the Inspiration of Social Idealism 266
12 Ecological and Cultural Patterns of Social Organization 268
  The Contrast between Ecological and Cultural Behaviour 268
  Types of Habitation and Community Life 272
  Contrasted Types of Institutions 274
  The Intermingling of Ecological and Cultural Principles 275
  Misfits of Old Mores in the Community Framework 277
  Causes of the Present Cultural Crisis 279
  Recovery of Small Communities 280
13 The Ecology Behind Economics 285
  The Concept of a National Economic Region 285
  The Culture Area among the Primitive Peoples 287
  Mixture of Economic Stages and Types 289
  Cultural Type and the Ecological Resource Pattern 290
  Social Contrasts between Rice and Wheat Cultures 293
  The Development of the Rural Community 296
  The Autonomous vs. Feudal type of Agrarian Organization 302
  The Rural Community in Transition 305
  Social Anomie 309
14 The Ecology Behind Politics 312
  Needs of Economic Diversity and Orientation 312
  The Tasks of Regionalism 315
  Schemes of National Regional Planning 318
  Regionalism in Politics 323
  Dissociation of Nationality from its Ecological Background in Europe 329
  Localism vs. Centralization 331
15 Social Equilibrium 335
  Progressive Uplift of the Equilibrium Processes 335
  The Web of Life 336
  The Web of Institutions 337
  Criteria of Social Equilibrium 339
  Disequilibrium, Inherent in the Modern Economic System 342
  The Scheme of Social Status and Values 344
  Towards Greater Wholeness 347
  The Mechanisms of Social Equilibrium 349
  Social Equilibrium, an Integral Personality-Social Experience 352
  Index 355


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