Families as Navigators and Negotiators Essay

1658 Words Oct 20th, 2013 7 Pages
In a 2010 article, “Families as Navigators and Negotiators: Facilitating
Culturally and Contextually Specific Expressions of Resilience,” Ungar explores the concept of resiliency as a process achieved by families through finding resources and effectively negotiating for them. Ungar explains that the achievement of resilience can look different for people from different cultures based on culturally relevant definitions of positive outcomes and culture specific methods of reaching outcomes. The author discusses ways in which social workers encourage resilience within diverse populations on different levels of social work while operating from a de-centered point of view. Ungar is effective in making clear that
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Brofenbrenner defined the ecological approach to human behavior as the “scientific study of the progressive, mutual accommodation, throughout the life course between an active, growing human being, and his or her environment” (as cited in Green, 1999, p. 260). Green (1999) goes on to explain the this perspective is built upon social work’s interest in working with individuals as people within their environments. This speaks clearly to Ungar’s argument that resilience can be addressed in teaching clients new ways to navigate their resources but never forgetting the importance of understanding in what ways an individual’s surroundings can affect her or him. One of the basic assumptions of the ecological perspective is the people need to be understood within their natural environments and settings. When he gives the example of Romanian orphans who were studied, Ungar (2010), demonstrates that the only possible way to understand their outcomes was too look at their settings. One-hundred-thirty-one children were followed, and the most severely disturbed of these children were the only who continued to show gains in functioning. It was because these children continued to qualify for added resources that they continued to improve. Walsh (1998) defines resilience as a process of endurance; Greene (1999) also emphasizes that the ecological viewpoint is concerned with process connecting the two once again. Finally, ecological theory brings forth the idea of “goodness of

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