FORUM


Ideas Shaping Practice: Philosophy of Home Economics/Human Sciences

Vol. 19, No. 1
ISSN: 1546-2676

Guest Editor:
Sue L. T. McGregor


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Kappa Omicron Nu FORUM, Vol. 19, No. 1. 
ISSN:
1546-2676. Editor: Lisa W. Booth. Official publication of Kappa Omicron Nu National Honor Society. Member, Association of College Honor Societies. Copyright © 2012. Kappa Omicron Nu FORUM is a refereed, semi-annual publication serving the profession of family and consumer sciences. The opinions expressed by the authors are their own and do not necessarily reflect the policies of the society. Further information: Kappa Omicron Nu, 1749 Hamilton Road, Suite 106, Okemos, MI 48864. Telephone: 517.351.8335

Interested in submitting an article to KON FORUM? Papers are now being accepted for review. For more information click here.


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From the Guest Editor

Objectives: This theme of Kappa Omicron Nu FORUM will serve one or more of these purposes: (a) help practitioners come to love the idea of philosophy, of being wise and knowledgeable about the underlying belief systems shaping their practice; (b) stimulate and scaffold an international conversation about the role of philosophy in our practice and what that philosophy might be, given the challenges faced by humanity, lived out in the everyday lives of individuals and families; and (c) consider the idea that different regions of the world may have different philosophies, rather than one global approach. The overall objective is to foster a dialogue about the place of philosophy in our practice, not to agree on a philosophy.

Overview: A philosophy of practice helps practitioners make decisions that lead to the formation of ethically consistent, morally sound practice. This consistency can happen because a philosophy defines the rules, roles, relationships, and responsibilities for practitioners that guide their day-to-day and career-long professional practice. This special issue of FORUM will explore the “idea of how philosophy” shapes our practice. Of special interest is the idea that different regions of the world espouse different philosophical orientations because practitioners draw on different philosophers. For instance, North American practitioners turn to Habermas. European and Scandinavian professionals draw on Merleau-Ponty, Husserl, and Heidegger. Japanese home economists draw on Bollnow. Conversely, there are many philosophers who are not considered: Foucault, Nietzsche, Chomsky, or Sartre.

Given this wide range of philosophical inspirations, it stands to reason that what is considered a philosophical framework for home economics/human sciences would differ around the world.  How do these philosophies compare? Is this a desirable state of affairs? Should there be a universally accepted philosophy of practice? What might that entail? Authors are encouraged to submit papers focused on (a) the effect of the “idea of philosophy” on professional practice as well as (b) how a particular philosophy impacts practice in general and in their region of the world. The intent is to give voice to (a) diverse opinions on the role of philosophy and (b) diverse philosophical orientations to practice so these ideas can be heard and respected, deliberated and discussed, and integrated and synthesized. A solid professional philosophical core means a more sustainable profession on a global scale, a deeper assurance of consistency in practice, a stronger ability to ride the currents of change, and a far-reaching sense of solidarity.

Discussion: This special issue is guided by three convictions. First, home economics/human sciences practice is deeply influenced by practitioners’ philosophical orientations, whether they know it or not. Without a philosophy, professional practitioners cannot really know what is motivating them to make large decisions with moral overtones. Second, higher education programs that socialize people into the profession have not focused on the role of philosophy in giving meaning and placing boundaries on practice. Third, different regions seem to be espousing different philosophies. How do different regions understand the idea of philosophy and its role in practice and that of sustainability of the profession?

Sue L. T. McGregor, Mount Saint Vincent University

 

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Table of Contents

Home Economics Philosophy in Latvia: An Exploratory Study

Sue L. T. McGregor, Mount Saint Vincent University
Vija Dišlere, Latvia University of Agriculture

2012

Abstract: Stimulated by a shared experience the authors conducted a frequency count of terms in the 2012 Latvian “Rural Environment, Education, Personality” (REEP) conference proceedings to determine the use of the humanistic approach in Latvian home economics philosophy. The authors concluded that living within a post-Soviet environment has meant Latvian home economists have been ideologically steeped in the humanistic/humanization philosophy. It has permeated their collective psyche, leading to a unique approach to home economics philosophy. The import of using the notions of human and human problems in home economics practice are examined, prompting the authors to invite other home economists to learn from the Latvian experience. The tenor of the entire home economics conversation changes when the focus is on humans, as well as on families.
In March 2012, the authors attended the 5th International Scientific Conference on “Rural Environment. Education. Personality” (REEP) in Jelgava, Latvia. One author was responsible for organizing the conference and the other delivered a plenary address, as well as attending sessions over the two-day event. One author noticed that home economists who were presenting papers did not use the familiar North American notion of optimizing and enhancing individual and family well-being and quality of life. Instead, they used the word human and related words such as humanistic, humanization and humanity. Given that one of the plenary sessions dealt with home economics philosophy(ies) and the idea that not all home economists use the same philosophy (McGregor, 2012), the authors were intrigued with exploring what it meant that Latvian (and other Baltic practitioners in Estonia and Lithuania) had framed their work around the concept of humans and not just families. What lessons could be learned for the world of home economics philosophy?


Everyday Life: A Home Economics Concept

Sue L. T. McGregor, Mount Saint Vincent University
2012

Abstract: This paper discusses the concept of everyday life and suggests that the everyday sustains humanity. As a concept, the everyday differs from family well-being, quality of life, and standard of living. To illustrate these differences, lay notions of time (repetition/routine), space (home), and modality (habits), which comprise the concept of the everyday, are reinterpreted. Rather than assuming everyday life is a time of week, a set of activities, or a setting for activities habitually performed within a family unit, this paper frames the everyday as a new philosophical stance, intending that the everyday becomes sacred, to be held in awe, respect, and reverence. The everyday lives of families are the very basis of humanity; hence, they warrant our attention as a key focus of our practice.


The Role of Philosophy in Home Economics

Sue L. T. McGregor, Mount Saint Vincent University
2012

Introduction: This paper discusses the role of philosophy in home economics practice. What is it, why do we need one, what role does it serve, and what should it include? Following the lead of Dahnke and Dreher (2011), this paper reinforces their idea that a discipline focused on practice (as is home economics) has a special responsibility to (a) rely upon a guiding philosophy, (b) socialize new members into that philosophy, and (c) educate the public about the discipline’s focus on praxis, informed by its philosophy. To begin, the paper will generically define each of profession, professional, practice, and philosophy, followed with a richer discussion of these concepts within the home economics context. Both the form and the substance of a philosophy are examined as well as their import on the best approach for home economics philosophy.


Marjorie Brown's Philosophical Legacy: Contemporary Relevance

Sue L. T. McGregor, Mount Saint Vincent University
2014

Introduction: This paper will examine Marjorie M. Brown's (1914-1996) seminal work on practical perennial problems and her work with Beatrice Paolucci (1920-1983), which leads to the only existing mission statement for the home economics profession (Brown & Paolucci, 1979) and to the three systems of action approach. Since its inception nearly 40 years ago, these ideas have been studied, embraced, critiqued, and ignored as well as unknown by many professionals. Yet, seminal works contain seeds for future developments and the future is here. Given the seemingly insurmountable problems faced by families, it is time to dust off these ideas and re-examine their contemporary relevance for home economics practice.


Abductive Reasoning in Everyday Life: Implications for Home Economics

Sue L. T. McGregor, Mount Saint Vincent University
2014

Introduction: This paper explores the role of abductive thinking and reasoning in the everyday life of families and how insights into this inference model might affect home economics philosophy and practice1. As a caveat, although both abductive reasoning and intuition are forms of "cognitive economy" (Wong, 2006, p. 1), they are not the same thing. Abduction (i.e., best guess given what is known in the context) is a logical explanation, though an unassured one, for a very curious or surprising (anomalous) observation (Kolko, 2010; McKeever, 2008; Patokorpi, 2006). The reaction to a surprising anomaly is one factor that distinguishes abduction from intuition. Although intuition is an integral part of everyday life and everyday intelligence (Cappon, 1993), it is not a form of reasoning as is abduction. Rather, an intuition is a compelling feeling people have (Pust, 2012), something they know or consider likely, but a feeling arrived at without a reasoning process (Pierce, 1868).


Enriching Home Economics Philosophy with Phenomenological Insights:
Aesthetic Experiences, Bodily Being, and Enfolded Everyday Life

Henna Heinilä, HAAGA-HELIA University of Applied Sciences School of Vocational Teacher Education, Helsinki, Finland henna.heinila@haaga-helia.fi
2014

Prologue: This article is a statement about the importance and meaning of subjective experience in the context of the philosophy of home economics. What is subjective experience? Persons experience phenomenon differently, and their interpretation of that experience, the meaning it has for them, is hard to put into words. As well, these subjective experiences, like listening to music, reading a book, even family life, cannot be objectively measured by others (Cycleback, 2005).

The focus of the article is on matters that lay beyond the practical and visible surface of daily life—that is, on experiences, on subjective viewpoints, and on the ontological roots of the phenomenon called "everyday life." Examining things like being, becoming, existence, and reality (i.e., people's ontological roots) is a way for people to interpret the meanings they assign to their lives on a daily basis. Meaning interpretation enables meanings to be heard and seen, an important aspect of wellbeing and managing one's life.


Postmodernism and Home Economics: Revitalizing the Conversation

Sue L. T. McGregor, Mount Saint Vincent University
2015

Abstract: Because we live in a postmodern time, the profession needs to continue to engage with the notion of postmodernism. To that end, this paper shares aspects of postmodernism and discusses whether or how home economics has addressed them over the years. Succinctly, home economists (family and consumer sciences, human sciences, human ecology) have rejected the ideas that society has no order, that ethics can be denied, and that there is no place for communicative rationality. In varying degrees, we have accepted relativism (unfortunately), pluralism, and complexity. The goal of this paper is to place postmodernism back on the philosophical radar of the profession as it moves forward into the 21st century.


History and Potential of Home Economics in the People's Republic of China:
Implications for Philosophy of Practice

Peng Chen PhD, Higher Vocational Education College, China Women's University
2015

Abstract: Home Economics in the People's Republic of China (P.R.C.) has experienced different stages of development from its introduction in the 1840s, to its cancellation in the 1950s, to its recent reconstruction in 1978 and onward. Home Economics' history in the P.R.C. is closely related to the nation's modernization process, and with the evolution of women's social status (Chen, 2012). This paper begins by describing the ongoing modernization process in China. This is a concern for Home Economics because political and economic reforms deeply shape daily life. Two theoretical frameworks inform this analysis, Chinese critical theory of daily life, and social gender theory. Following an historical overview of the evolution of Home Economics in China, pre-empted with a discussion of women's education in China, the paper turns to a conversation about the impact this historical context might have on the extant philosophy of Home Economics in China.


Existentialism and Home Economics

Sue L. T. McGregor, Mount Saint Vincent University
2015

Abstract: This paper broaches the idea of existentialism as a viable concept within our professional philosophy. The basic premise is that any home economist who encounters people dealing with their existence as humans could benefit by knowing more about existentialism as a strand of philosophy. The paper begins by briefly explaining the origins of existentialism, with an attempt to provide examples of existentialism in Western culture, so readers feel more comfortable with the concept. This is followed with an effort to define this elusive concept, continuing with highlights of the scant evidence of existentialism in home economics literature. The paper then turns to a generalized discussion of several overarching themes comprising existentialism: existence precedes essence, facticity, freedom, authenticity, and the Absurd (anxiety, despair (loss of hope), nothingness, and alienation). The paper ends with some rudimentary ideas about what home economics might look like in different areas of practice if informed by existentialism, and invites home economists to carry this philosophical conversation into our future.


Can Home Economics Practice be Informed by Bakhtinian Themes?

Dr. Mary Gale Smith
2016

Abstract: Home Economics/Family and Consumer Science has been described as a field of practice where research and practice are inherently social practices conducted in human and social relationships. It is an action-oriented practice and therefore requires an action guiding philosophy, one that is attuned to the lived experience of everyday life in all its complexity. This paper explores Bakhtinian themes arising from the scholarship of Mikhail Bakhtin, a Russian philosopher who, throughout his life, examined the relationship between reason and lived experience. These themes include dialogism, the act (“Being-as-event”), answerability, and theoreticism.


Conceptualizing Home and Household

Sue L. T. McGregor, Mount Saint Vincent University
2016

Abstract: Home economics uses the terms home and household all the time but there seems to be a dearth of literature that formalizes how we define and conceptualize these terms. On the assumption that they aretwo different concepts, this paper explores how home and household differ (with peripheral reference to family). The conversation begins with an overview of the few examples found in the home economics literature (six initiatives). Then, household and home are each described in detail, including four conceptualizations of home from non-home economics literature. Ultimately, the paper concludes that the Western notion of household is a quantifiable concept, while home is much more symbolic (a visible sign of something that is invisible). Households pertain to the type of dwelling; the complement of people; and their tasks, chores, functions, or activities. Conversely, through their interactions with an undifferentiated space (house or dwelling), people turn it into a home, which means different things to different people (along nine dimensions). The case is made for home economics to take inspiration from other disciplines' initiatives to conceptualize these two concepts, and work towards a home economics-centric theory of home and household.

 

 

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