Nature, Genetics and the Biophilia Connection: Exploring Linkages with Social Work Values and Practice

Fred H. Besthorn, Dennis Saleebey

Abstract


Social work’s notion of environment and its environmental responsibilities
has always been narrowly defined. The profession has tended to either neglect
natural environmental issues or accept shallow, ecological conceptualizations of
nature as something other, quite separate from the human enterprise and/or outside
the reach of social work activity. The Biophilia Hypothesis, first articulated by
Harvard biologist E.O.Wilson in 1984, offers social work as a fundamentally different
view of the person/environment construct and argues for a primary shift in the
way the profession views its relationship with the natural world. This article traces
the conceptual development of the Biophilic theory and reviews pivotal empirical
evidence explicitly arguing for the essential Biophilic premise that humans have
acquired, through their long evolutionary history, a strong genetic predisposition for
nature and natural settings. It offers key insights and examples for incorporating
Biophilia into social work’s values and knowledge base and how it may impact the
profession’s practice strategies and techniques.

Keywords


Values, genetics, practice, Biophilia Hypothesis, environment, ecological/systems, nature

Full Text:

PDF


TO CONTACT OUR MAIN CAMPUS:
Indiana University School of Social Work
902 West New York Street
Indianapolis, Indiana, USA, 46202
Voice: 317.274.6705
FAX: 317.274.8630
TDD/TTY: 317.278-2050

Indiana University - Quality Education. Lifetime Opportunities.
Last updated: November 20, 2007
Comments: iussw@iupui.edu
Copyright 2007, The Trustees of Indiana University
Content ©2007 IUSSW