ERIC Number: ED399404
Record Type: RIE
Publication Date: 1996
Home Economics by Any Other Name. Trends and Issues Alerts.
Within the last decade, many schools and departments of home economics have changed their name to "human ecology," whereas others have become "family and consumer sciences," and still others have remained unchanged. "Human ecology" has tended to be used more in higher education, and "family and consumer sciences," in secondary schools and professional organizations. The name changes are one manifestation of extensive soul searching within home economics, beginning in the late 1970s. At that time, Marjorie Brown and others proposed a reorientation of the curriculum from the traditional emphasis on technical and vocational skills of homemaking toward a critical sciences approach in order to help students learn to think, reflect, and take action through the study of perennial, practical family problems. Forces driving the changes in name and focus include the following: (1) changes in women's roles and family structures; (2) poor image and low priority accorded to home and family in society generally and consequently to the home economics field; (3) desire to increase the field's standing in academia and to recruit and retain students with a more relevant curriculum; (4) the influence of feminist thought, with its emphasis the on valuing the family sphere as much as the public sphere; and (5) the trend toward integrated curricula and holistic, connected forms of knowledge. The restructuring in home economic reflects the overall restructuring taking place in many educational institutions. The field of study still retains its focus on the work of the family, however. (Contains an annotated list of 16 references and 3 resource organizations.) (KC)
Publication Type: ERIC Publications; Reference Materials - Bibliographies
Education Level: N/A
Sponsor: Office of Educational Research and Improvement (ED), Washington, DC.
Authoring Institution: ERIC Clearinghouse on Adult, Career, and Vocational Education, Columbus, OH.