Human Ecology, Sociology, and Demography

  • Dudley L. PostonJr.
  • W. Parker Frisbie
Part of the The Springer Series on Demographic Methods and Population Analysis book series (PSDE)


In 1934, R. D. McKenzie published an essay entitled “The Field and Problems of Demography, Human Geography, and Human Ecology” in the book, The Fields and Methods of Sociology, edited by L. L. Bernard. In his essay, McKenzie endeavored to show that, for purposes of scientific study, the human community could be viewed as demographic, geographic, or ecological, depending on the orientation and goals of the investigation. If concern was with the human community as a population aggregate, the community would be delineated demographically. If the relation between the population and its physical habitat was the focus of analysis, the community would be defined geographically. If studied as a symbiotic unity, the community would be described ecologically. Although McKenzie’s goal was to distinguish among these three different ways of studying the human community, our purpose here is to outline in a general manner the ecological orientation to the human community and then to show the sociological significance of the ecological orientation for the study of the demographic process of migration (see Namboodiri 1988 and 1994 for other, although not dissimilar, treatments).


American Sociological Review Capital Expenditure Human Ecology Ecological Orientation Interstate Highway 
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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media New York 1998

Authors and Affiliations

  • Dudley L. PostonJr.
    • 1
  • W. Parker Frisbie
    • 2
  1. 1.Department of SociologyTexas A&M UniversityCollege StationUSA
  2. 2.Population Research CenterThe University of Texas at AustinAustinUSA

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