The Human–Nature Relationship and Its Impact on Health: A Critical Review
The Space Between Us: Exploring the. Dimensions of Human Relationships. Ruthellen Josselson. Sage, , £, pp. Have you ever heard in your. Buy The Space Between Us: Exploring the Dimensions of Human Relationships ( Jossey-Bass Social & Behavioral Science) by Ruthellen Josselson. Exploring the Dimensions of Human Relationships Ruthellen Josselson of reaching through the space that separates us, both physically and psychologically.
It can also be understood as, and inclusive of, our adaptive synergy with nature as well as our longstanding actions and experiences that connect us to nature. Over time, as research and scientific knowledge progresses, it is anticipated that this definition of the human—nature relationship will adapt, featuring the addition of other emerging research fields and avenues. It is, however, beyond the scope of this paper to review the many ways these concepts have been previously explored 84 — Since then, this shift has seen a major growth in the last 30 years, primarily in areas of positive health and psychology 88 — Despite its broad perspective of human health, the definition has also encountered criticism in relation to its description and its overall reflectance of modern society.
Similarly, others have highlighted the need to distinguish health from happiness 84 or its inability to fully reflect modern transformations in knowledge and development e. As such, there have been calls to reconceptualize this definition, to ensure further clarity and relevance for our adaptive societies Broadly, health has been measured through two theoretical approaches; subjective and objective First, physical health is defined as a healthy organism capable of maintaining physiological fitness through protective or adaptive responses during changing circumstances While it centers on health-related behaviors and fitness including lifestyle and dietary choicesphysiological fitness is considered one of the most important health markers thought to be an integral measure of most bodily functions involved in the performance of daily physical exercise These can be measured through various means, with examples including questionnaires, behavioral observations, motion sensors, and physiological markers e.
Second, mental health is often regarded as a broad concept to define, encapsulating both mental illness and well-being. It can be characterized as the positive state of well-being and the capacity of a person to cope with life stresses as well as contribute to community engagement activities 83 It has the ability to both determine as well as be determined by a host of multifaceted health and social factors being inextricably linked to overall health, inclusive of diet, exercise, and environmental conditions.
As a result, there are no single definitive indicators used to capture its overall measurement. This owes in part to the breadth of methods and tends to represent hedonic e. Third, social health can be generalized as the ability to lead life with some degree of independence and participate in social activities Indicators of the concept revolve around social relationships, social cohesion, and participation in community activities.
Further, such mechanisms are closely linked to improving physical and mental well-being as well as forming constructs, which underline social capital. Owing to its complexity, its measurement focuses on strengths of primary networks or relationships e. Current Knowledge on the Human—Nature Relationship and Health This section summarizes existing theoretical and literature research at the intersection of the human—nature relationship and health, as defined in this review.
Physical Health Though it is widely established that healthy eating and regular exercise have major impacts on physical health 98within the past 30 years research has also identified that exposure to nature e.
Vision was seen both a future-oriented structuring of meaning for those in the present to act on, and in this interpretation, it was framed by its own scales, but it was also seen as a trait of individuals and organizations, in which case other scales were used to define it.
Four scales were used by participants to structure innovation, with the innovative properties of projects and interventions both changing and being changed by societal dynamics. Specific innovation pathways were part of this dimension, but also several scales that together express innovation potential. Table 1 shows that the status dimension was framed by multiple scales including networks, policies, e.
In each of these framings, status received a different interpretation. The scale developed specifically for status has associations with image, visibility, and marketing.
Two polar scales were defined by participants to structure the relationships of roles assigned to individuals, projects, and organizations. Problems of role definition are especially likely in environments where complexity and uncertainty are high, compounded by the large number of different perspectives and types of experiences involved Beers et al. Cross-dimensional dynamics The scales that the participants in the TransForum case used to frame their perspectives on past and future allowed them to draw out cross-dimensional system dynamics in specific ways.
Figures 3 and 5 show examples of cross-dimensional dynamics described by spatial and social scales while Fig. This individual has acted as a change agent by brokering between sectors related to the regional clustering of agricultural and horticultural activities and their interactions with environmental and social functions as well as logistics, knowledge development, and innovation. This image represents both the past experience this participant has had with the developing of local integration between the public and private sectors and their sub-sectors stage 1his current efforts to build on past successes to create a similar degree of integration between sectors at the regional level stage 2and his future ambitions to move from regional integration of sectors to the national level stage 3.
This elicitation of cross-dimensional dynamics in the perspective of this change agent is indicative of his orientation toward both geographical and social dimensions and their interplay. He recognized qualitative differences between the requirements for the integration of sectors at different jurisdictional levels, as well as the differences between degrees of integration.
This included his involving of different types of actors that possessed the skills specific to the requirements of those geographical and social scales. Figure 3 shows a link between available physical space and the number of innovation paths or opportunities that could be taken, in this case for saline agriculture. A pilot plot allows for experimentation with different crops. As available space grows—e. Cross-dimensional dynamics described by social scales Despite the geographically rooted character of the TransForum regional development projects, the majority of cross-dimensional dynamics identified by the participants in their perspectives were dynamics between social scales.
We provide two examples. In the scale-structured account of this participant, several like-minded and similarly positioned individuals acquired knowledge and developed a vision through their networks stage 1. They disseminated this knowledge and the vision that was built on it into their organization, which acquired further knowledge and developed the vision at an organizational level using the resources in its network stage 2.
Both were then passed on in a top-down fashion to the networks of various projects that this organization was taking part in stage 3. The relationship between knowledge acquisition and vision development is made with different levels in the network hierarchy.
It shows how an individual acquires knowledge and develops a vision, and how these work through networks on different levels, in this case, a mix of bottom-up and top-down development and dissemination. The participant demonstrated a sense of the different dimensions associated with knowledge and vision development in the context of individual networks, practical projects and their organization, and an understanding of the qualitative differences between the levels in the network.
Figure 7 uses a polar scale for role definition, set against the network hierarchy to show two examples from interviews of how role definitions of individuals, projects, and organizations can differ. In one example, roles of organizations and projects in networks were clearly defined, and it is only on the individual level that we found people in the network that had less defined roles and thus more flexibility to induce change.
In the other example, key individuals had clearly defined roles, but projects and organizations did not. We proposed that this distinction would be useful to highlight the fact that multiple scales can be applied to structure the same dimension. This has consequences both for insights into systems as well as for societal stakes associated with the structuring of knowledge and analysis.
In the framework, cross-scale dynamics are not the same as cross-dimensional dynamics. Often, interactions between different scales also reflect interactions between different dimensions, but cross-scale dynamics could also refer to interactions between different scales framing the same dimension but used by different societal actors.
The use of the dimensions, scales, and levels framework has proven useful in the case study we explored. The identification of dimensions preceded the structuring of scales when using the scale repertoire with participants.
This allowed participants to acknowledge certain dimensions as important, even if they were not always able to come up with a useful scale to structure them. The usefulness of the distinction between dimensions and scales was also clear in the analysis of our results, showing that, whereas in many instances, dimensions were structured according to specifically associated scales, for example, network nodes for the network dimension, or decision levels for policy, there were also many instances where dimensions were structured by scales that were not primarily associated with these dimensions.
The participant is not prematurely constricted by consecutive framing steps while building the narrative. Instead, dimensions, scales and associated levels are allowed to arise from the narrative. What can be seen as a weak point of this method is that the identification of dimensions is less structured than in the repertory grid technique.
Also, there are no requirements for participants to structure their scales in a very detailed fashion. An argument against this criticism is that, in this way, the participants are not forced to create constructs that are artificial and not actually characteristic of their perspectives.
Still, this potential tension between flexibility and structure is a point for further research on methods for the eliciting of scales that make up societal perspectives. Finally, it should be stressed that the scale repertoire focuses explicitly on subjective views of cross-scale interactions, and does not provide a way to test these perspectives. Practice-based perspectives on dimensions and scales We have shown that using the dimensions, scales, and levels framework and an appropriate method such as the scale repertoire, change agents can describe their perspectives using a spectrum of biophysical and social dimensions and a range of scales to describe the same dimensions.
This underlines the need to consciously consider the multiplicity and multi-dimensionality of perspectives that exists among societal actors, especially actors such as our participants who are working toward sustainable and accepted systems change.
Studies such as van Lieshout et al. Our findings advocate the value of having these actors structure dimensions and scales themselves.
The prominence of social dimensions and scales in our results runs counter to the dominance of biophysical and geographical dimensions and scales in the literature Kok and Veldkamp a.
Part of this focus on social dimensions and scales could be explained by the heavily regulated and institutionalized Dutch context of the case study. However, it can also be an indication that the social dimensions—including political, economic, knowledge, and other dimensions—and not the biophysical dimensions, are seen as limiting, challenging, or providing most leverage from the perspective of change agents.
It would be valuable to repeat this exercise in cases that are even more explicitly focused on physical environments and biophysical processes to see if social dimensions still dominate the accounts of the change agents. Cross-dimensional dynamics framed by multiple scales The range of dimensions and scales identified by the change agents interviewed in our case study has allowed them to use scales to describe specific cross-dimensional dynamics.
These cross-dimensional dynamics represent the success stories and lessons the interviewees saw as crucial, as well as the visions and directions to where they saw themselves taking their work in the future.
The essence of these cross-dimensional narratives would have been lost when framed only by spatial and temporal scales. The sector integration scale is instrumental to capturing this narrative. Implications for theory development Gibson et al.
The Space Between Us: Exploring the Dimensions of Human Relationships by Ruthellen Josselson
Comparing the dimensions, scales and cross-dimensional dynamics that resulted from our case study to the seminal work in these papers, we offer four key observations: On the basis of our results, we would like to expand this point of view by proposing that researchers should explore a broader spectrum of a dimensions, b the scales associated with them, and c differences between scales used to frame dimensions familiar to scale research.
Table 2 provides some key references from research domains that connect to the dimensions and scales found in our case studies. Therefore, the study of cross-scale dynamics should receive a more central focus than is currently the case. The cross-dimensional dynamics described in our practical case studies show the potential value of a stronger focus not just on dynamics between environmental and social dimensions and scales but also between different social dimensions and scales.
Implications for practical scale challenges We have mainly focused on the introduction of dimensions to the scale vocabulary to improve the link between development of interdisciplinary theory and concepts on scale and practice-based perspectives. However, the development of scale theory should ultimately aim to provide useful frameworks and analysis for the governance of social—ecological systems Folke Exploring the practical use of the dimensions and scales elicited in our case study would be a next research step that we cannot fully address here.
However, we see potential for our adapted scale framework and practice-oriented methods such as the scale repertoire beyond theory development, particularly related to the scale challenges for governance identified by Cash et al.
We believe this framework can make significant contributions that address three key factors: Through methods like the scale repertoire, the extended framework can point to the possibility that other scales might be able to highlight aspects of issues that have so far not been visible.
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This can propagate the understanding that scale mismatches are not unavoidable and that, opportunities and political realities permitting, different scales of organization and governance might be explored that are more conducive to sustainable cross-dimensional interactions with environments.
The scale repertoire can help elicit specific scale perspectives held by societal actors and make them accessible to others. If accepted for publication, your response will be hyperlinked to the article. To submit a response, follow this link. To read responses already accepted, follow this link. Special thanks go out to Rik Eweg for helping organize the interviews. Finally, we would like to thank the two anonymous reviewers for their helpful comments. Future sustainability and images. Back to the future: Pages — in L.
Island Press, Washington, D. The relationship between vision strength, leadership style, and context. The duality of persons and groups. Sociology and modern systems theory. Governance, scale and the environment: Ecology and Society 16 1: Scale and cross-scale dynamics: Ecology and Society 11 2: International Journal of Consumer Studies On the flexibility of optimal policies for green design.
The space between us : exploring the dimensions of human relationships
Environmental and Resource Economics Yours, mine, and ours: Organizational Behavior and Human Decision Processes Scale mismatches in social—ecological systems: Ecology and Society 11 1: Democracy and its critics.
Now multidimensional space became imbued with deep physical meaning. Space, time, matter and force are distinct categories of reality. With special relativity, Einstein demonstrated that space and time were unified, thus reducing the fundamental physical categories from four to three: General relativity takes a further step by enfolding the force of gravity into the structure of spacetime itself.
Seen from a 4D perspective, gravity is just an artifact of the shape of space. Think of a trampoline, and imagine we draw on its surface a Cartesian grid. Now put a bowling ball onto the grid.
Around it, the surface will stretch and warp so some points become further away from each other. General relativity says that this warping is what a heavy object, such as the Sun, does to spacetime, and the aberration from Cartesian perfection of the space itself gives rise to the phenomenon we experience as gravity. Here, the vast cosmic force holding planets in orbit around stars, and stars in orbit around galaxies, is nothing more than a side-effect of warped space.
Gravity is literally geometry in action. If moving into four dimensions helps to explain gravity, then might thinking in five dimensions have any scientific advantage? Why not give it a go? Even Einstein balked at such an ethereal innovation. Inthe Swedish physicist Oskar Klein answered this question in a way that reads like something straight out of Wonderland.
Imagine, he said, you are an ant living on a long, very thin length of hose. You could run along the hose backward and forward without ever being aware of the tiny circle-dimension under your feet. Only your ant-physicists with their powerful ant-microscopes can see this tiny dimension. Only physicists with super-powerful particle accelerators can hope to see down to such a minuscule scale. Unfortunately, the infinitesimal scale of the new dimension made it impossible to imagine how it could be experimentally verified.
Klein calculated that the diameter of the tiny circle was just cm. And so the idea faded out of fashion. Kaluza, however, was not a man easily deterred. He believed in his fifth dimension, and he believed in the power of mathematical theory, so he decided to conduct an experiment of his own. He settled on the subject of swimming. By the s, physicists had discovered two additional forces of nature, both operating at the subatomic scale.
Called the weak nuclear force and the strong nuclear force, they are responsible for some types of radioactivity and for holding quarks together to form the protons and neutrons that make up atomic nuclei. It turns out that in order to encompass both of these two forces, we have to add another five dimensions to our mathematical description.
They are just there in the mathematics. So this gets us to the 10 dimensions of string theory. A great deal of effort is being expended by physicists and mathematicians to understand all the possible shapes that this miniature space might take, and which, if any, of the many alternatives is realised in the real world. Technically, these forms are known as Calabi-Yau manifolds, and they can exist in any even number of higher dimensions.
Exotic, elaborate creatures, these extraordinary forms constitute an abstract taxonomy in multidimensional space; a 2D slice through them about the best we can do in visualising what they look like brings to mind the crystalline structures of viruses; they almost look alive.
A 2D slice through a Calabi-Yau manifold. Ours might be just one of many co-existing universes, each a separate 4D bubble in a wider arena of 5D space So far, we have no evidence for any of these additional dimensions — we are still in the land of swimming physicists dreaming of a miniature landscape we cannot yet access — but string theory has turned out to have powerful implications for mathematics itself.
For the world we love and live in, most string theorists believe that 10 or 11 dimensions will prove sufficient. There is one final development in string theory that warrants attention. InLisa Randall the first woman to get tenure at Harvard as a theoretical physicist and Raman Sundrum an Indian-American particle theorist proposed that there might be an additional dimension on the cosmological scale, the scale described by general relativity.