Ecological Approach


The ecological approach to studying anthropology involves the relationship between organisms and their total environments in order to understand how disease develops and spreads throughout a population. Natural disasters can disrupt the balance of an ecosystem as well as the expansion of civilization. With the ecological approach, there can be negative and positive effects on the ecosystem. Positive can include the building of irrigation systems and the negative effects can included the increase in pollution. This approach is helpful to use because of its linear relationship. For instance, the goal of an ecosystem is to maintain balance so, if something is disrupted in the environment, there would be a direct effect on organisms. Because of this cause and effect relationship it may be easier to pinpoint the problems and fix or maintain them. This will in turn help examine how humans deal with these issues and how it increases their health overall.

Disease and illness are different subcategories under the definition of health. Disease is the identification of symptoms and also tests for foreign pathogens. Illness is more individualized because it deals with how a person understands their sickness and how it is categorized depending on their culture. This distinction is obvious to me because I view disease as more general and illness as more personal to a person.

In the article Miner is talking about the American culture. This became noticeable to me, towards the end of the article. The charm box is involved in family rituals. It’s the focal point of a shrine. It is a chest that holds many charms and magical potions that without, the natives feel like they will not live. Family members bow before it every day and have a brief rite of ablution. Another ritual is a daily one called a mouth rite. It consists of inserting a small bundle of hog hair  into the mouth to exorcise the evils of the mouth.

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  1. Ben Caldwell says:

    I didn’t choose the ecological approach but I think it would have been my second choice as it seems to tie in nicely with the biological approach. It is important to realize the immense impact the ecosystem affects the individuals in a population as well as how much the individuals can affect the ecosystem. In this way, a short sighted population can do immense harm to itself without realizing it.
    The box of “potions and charms” Miner describes is something that is a “ritual” that is worse today than it was when the article was written. It would be difficult to find a household in America that doesn’t have a medicine cabinet packed to the gills with aspirin, Nyquil, Claritin, and the remnants of every prescription that they have had in the last five years. A huge contributor to this problem is the fact that in America, pharmaceutical companies are allowed to advertise directly to the public. Because of this, we have a population that self diagnoses themselves with every new condition that Pfizer tells them they might have. Luckily, there is a drug to cure it though. So every morning I can wake up and take a plethora of pills to help me get through the day, and when I come home I can do the same thing so that I can sleep soundly.

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