Urie Bronfenbrenner (1917-2005) was a Russian-American psychologist who brought much knowledge to theories of child development. He maintained a holistic perspective from which he proposed an ecological theory of systems, one of the most important contributions to evolutionary psychology.
Then we will review the life of Urie Bronfenbrenner in a brief biography, See what his most important job consists of and the career path that has been decisive for his development as a psychologist and researcher.
Urie Bronfenbrenner: Biography of a pioneer of developmental psychology
Urie Bronfenbrenner was born in Moscow, Russia on April 29, 1917. At the age of 6, Bronfenbrenner moved with his family to the United States, where his father would work as a research director at the New York Institute for the mentally handicapped.
In 1938, Bronfenbrenner obtained a degree in psychology and music from Cornell University, then completed a postgraduate study in developmental psychology at Harvard University, and eventually received a doctorate in the same field from the University of Harvard, University of Michigan, 1942.
Several years after completing his studies, I during WWII, Bronfenbrenner was a psychologist in the United States Armed Forces. Many of these experiments formed an important basis for the theories he would later develop.
After working in the army, he taught at different universities, among others on psychology, human development, family studies. Part of his goals during his professional development centered on that human development theories have a direct impact both in psychology and in politics and in public opinion in general.
It was from there that Bronfenbrenner took an important part in the design of the programs, where he was able to translate into operational language the theories on psychological development, in particular in the field of childhood development, and the socio-economic sectors. economics of miners. entry into the United States.
What is a system according to Bronfenbrenner?
The ecological theory of systems is the major work of Bronfenbrenner. He projects there a perspective of psychological development that brings together different theoretical propositions, not only evolutionary psychology but social psychology.
Generally speaking, it describes how an individual develops not only from his genetic load or the education he receives from his nuclear family, but in this development there are elements in different environments which are also factors. determinants. For example, school, work environment, neighborhood, culture.
This is because humans are not only biological beings, but relational beings i.e. our personality and psychological development are largely shaped by the characteristics of the systems in which we live and it makes us have things in common or different with others.
Each system coexists, there is not one on top of the other, but they are interdependent. For this reason, if a system is changed significantly, it can affect children’s need for exploration and preparation for learning in other systems.
Likewise, each contains roles, rules and regulations which, taken as a whole, are determinants of human development.
The 5 systems of ecological theory
It is an “ecological” systems theory because it focuses attention on the relationship between different environments and how this relationship determines human development. Currently, ecological systems theory is considered one of the bridges between the biological, psychological and social (biopsychosocial) perspectives of development.
For Bronfenbrenner, there are five fundamental systems for individual psychological development, and they range from family to political and economic structures: the microsystem, the mesosystem, the exosystem, the macrosystem and the chronosystem. Very briefly, we review them below.
It is the immediate and closest environment. These are basically our group of members: family, caregivers, school, neighborhood, couples.
It consists of the connection between different environments of the microsystem, for example, between home and school.
The exosystem is made up of environments considered secondary, as they indirectly affect development. For example, the place where parents work.
The latter system is made up of the cultural environment. Sometimes this goes unnoticed, but it is from which certain rules of behavior are generated that affect other systems. One example is the cultural differences between western and non-western culture, Or the differences between policies and economic systems.
Some time later, Bronfenbrenner added a fifth system to his theory. The chronosystem is made up of the patterns through which our development takes place throughout life and through the different environments mentioned above.
Among the works most representative of Urie Bronfenbrenner’s thought are Two Worlds of Childhood (1972), Influencing Human Development (1963) and The Ecology of Human Development: Experiments by Nature and Design (1979).
- New World Encyclopedia. (2015). Uriah Bronfenbrenner. Accessed May 31, 2018. Available at http://www.newworldencyclopedia.org/entry/Urie_Bronfenbrenner.