Urie Bronfenbrenner - Ecological Systems Theory

Ecological Systems Theory

Urie Bronfenbrenner is generally regarded as one of the world's leading scholars to focus on the interplay between research and policy on child development. Bronfenbrenner suggests child development research is better informed when institutional policies encourage studies within natural settings and theory finds greater practical application when contextually relevant. This perspective is well defined by Bronfenbrenner, who states, "...basic science needs public policy even more than public policy needs basic science" (Bronfenbrenner, 1979, p. 8, italics in original). It is from this vantage point that Bronfenbrenner conceives his primary contribution, Ecological Systems Theory, in which he delineates four types of nested systems. He calls these:

  • the microsystem (such as the family or classroom);
  • the mesosystem (which is two microsystems in interaction);
  • the exosystem (external environments which indirectly influence development, e.g., parental workplace);
  • and the macrosystem (the larger socio-cultural context).

He later adds a fifth system, called the Chronosystem (the evolution of the four other systems over time).

Read more about this topic:  Urie Bronfenbrenner

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