Urie Bronfenbrenner

Urie Bronfenbrenner

Urie Bronfenbrenner(April 29, 1917September 25, 2005) was a renowned American psychologist, known for developing his Ecological Systems Theory, and as a co-founder of the Head Start program in the United States for disadvantaged pre-school children.

Background and career

He was the son of Dr. Alexander Bronfenbrenner and Eugenie Kamenetski Bronfenbrenner. At age 6, he came from the USSR to the United States. After a brief stay in Pittsburgh, the family settled in Letchworth Village, New York the home of the New York State Institution for the Mentally Retarded, where his father worked as a clinical pathologist and research director.

After his graduation from Haverstraw High School, Bronfenbrenner attended Cornell University on a scholarship [Urie Bronfenbrenner (1917-)] , where he completed a double major in psychology and music in 1938. He went on to graduate work in developmental psychology, completing an M.A. at Harvard University, followed by a Ph.D. from the University of Michigan in 1942. Twenty-four hours after receiving his doctorate he was inducted into the Army, where he served as a psychologist in a variety of assignments for the Army Air Corps and the Office of Strategic Services. After completing officer training he served in the U.S. Army Medical Corps.

Immediately after World War II, Bronfenbrenner worked briefly as Assistant Chief Clinical Psychologist for Administration and Research for the Veterans' Administration, before beginning his work as Assistant Professor in Psychology at the University of Michigan. In 1948, he accepted a professorship in Human Development, Family Studies and Psychology at Cornell University. In the late 1960s to early 1970s, Bronfenbrenner served as a faculty-elected member of Cornell's Board of Trustees. At his death, Bronfenbrenner was the Jacob Gould Schurman Professor Emeritus of Human Development and of Psychology in the Cornell University College of Human Ecology.

Urie Bronfenbrenner has six children: Beth Soll, Ann Stambler, Mary Bronfenbrenner, Michael Bronfenbrenner, Kate Bronfenbrenner, and Steven Bronfenbrenner. Beth Soll, who resides in New York City, is a choreographer, dancer,writer. She directed the Dance Program at MIT from 1977-1997 and now teaches at Columbia University and Manhattanville College. His daughter, Ann Stambler is a psychiatric social worker in Newton, MA. Mary Bronfenbrenner teaches German in the Ithaca Public School system. Michael Bronfenbrenner lives in Seal Beach, California and works as a video artist/professional. Kate Bronfenbrenner, is the Director of Labor Education Research at the Cornell University School of Industrial and Labor Relations. Steven Bronfenbrenner directs an arts administration company in San Francisco, California.

Ecological Systems Theory

1.Generally regarded as one of the world's leading scholars in the field of developmental psychology, Bronfenbrenner's primary contribution was his Ecological Systems Theory, in which he delineated four types of nested systems. He called these the "microsystem" (such as the family or classroom); the "mesosytem" (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 added a fifth system, called the "Chronosystem" (the evolution of the external systems over time). Each system contains roles, norms and rules that can powerfully shape development.

2.The major statement of this theory, "The Ecology of Human Development" (1979), has had widespread influence on the way psychologists and other social scientists approach the study of human beings and their environments. It has been said that before Bronfenbrenner, child psychologists studied the child, sociologists examined the family, anthropologists the society, economists the economic framework of the times, and political scientists the political structure.

3.As a result of Bronfenbrenner's groundbreaking work in "human ecology", these environments, from the family to economic and political structures, have come to be viewed as part of the life course from childhood through adulthood. The "bioecological" approach to human development broke down barriers among the social sciences, and built bridges between the disciplines that have allowed findings to emerge about which key elements in the larger social structure, and across societies, are vital for optimal human development.


* The James McKeen Catell Award from the American Psychological Society [ [http://www.psychologicalscience.org/awards/cattell/citations/bronfenbrenner.cfm 1993 James McKeen Cattell Fellow Award] ]
* The American Psychological Association renamed its "Lifetime Contribution to Developmental Psychology in the Service of Science and Society" as "The Bronfenbrenner Award."
* Chair, 1970 White House Conference on Children [ [http://www.time.com/time/magazine/article/0,9171,944265-10,00.html The American Family: Future Uncertain] , TIME Magazine, Dec. 28, 1970.]


* 1972. "Two Worlds of Childhood". Simon & Schuster. ISBN 0-671-21238-9
* 1973. "Influencing Human Development". Holt, R & W. ISBN 0-03-089176-0
* 1975. "Two Worlds of Childhood: US and USSR". Penguin. ISBN 0-14-081104-4
* 1975. "Influences on Human Development". Holt, R & W. ISBN 0-03-089413-1
* 1979. "The Ecology of Human Development: Experiments by Nature and Design". Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press. ISBN 0-674-22457-4
* 1981. "On Making Human Beings Human". Sage Publications Ltd. ISBN 0-7619-2712-3
* 1992. "The Twelve Who Survive: Strengthening Programmes of Early Childhood Development in the Third World". with R. Myers Routledge. ISBN 0-415-07307-3
* 1996. "The State of Americans : This Generation and the Next". New York: Free Press. ISBN 0-684-82336-5.


External links

* [http://www.psy.pdx.edu/PsiCafe/KeyTheorists/Bronfenbrenner.htm Key Theorists/Theories in Psychology - Urie Bronfenbrenner] , "The PSI Cafe, A psychology resource site" at Portland State University (link is 404)
* [http://www.news.cornell.edu/stories/Sept05/Bronfenbrenner.ssl.html Cornell News Release on Bronfenbrenner's Death]

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