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Progressive Contextualization: Methods for Research in Human Ecology

Andrew P. Vayda
Human Ecology
Vol. 11, No. 3 (Sep., 1983), pp. 265-281
Published by: Springer
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/4602704
Page Count: 17
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Progressive Contextualization: Methods for Research in Human Ecology
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Abstract

Theoretically or practically significant research results concerning transitory as well as persistent phenomena can be obtained by human ecologists while avoiding commitment to long-term, expensive projects, rigid frameworks, traditional disciplinary goals, and unwarranted assumptions about the stability and purposiveness of units or systems. The procedures to be followed, as illustrated by research on people-forest interactions in East Kalimantan, involve a focus on significant human activities or people-environment interactions and the explanation of these by their placement within progressively wider or denser contexts. Guides for progressively contextualizing activities or interactions include a rationality principle, comparative knowledge of contexts, and the principle of pursuing the surprising.

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