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Abstract

Our task in this chapter is unique and thus extraordinarily challenging. The task is unique because unlike the remaining theory chapters, we consider a framework that has become virtually obsolete throughout general sociology (Coleman, 1990). Thirty years ago, structural-functionalism (or simply, functionalism) occupied a central place in family anthologies (McIntyre, 1966; Pitts, 1964). But in more recent collections, no one noticed or cared that it was omitted (Burr et al., 1979; Sus-sman & Steinmetz, 1987). Nevertheless, this book must address functionalism (1) because of its historic significance for studies of families, and (2) because functinalist assumptions remain central to family sociology and family studies, in spite of arguments to the contrary (Broderick, 1971a; Holman & Burr, 1980). To understand why functionalism was once considered important, then fell into disrepute, but continues to be significant for family research, we must first grasp what it was and is trying to say.

Keywords

Family Study Deviant Behavior Sociological Theory Social Disorganization Family Policy 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.

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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC 2009

Authors and Affiliations

  • Nancy Kingsbury
    • 1
  • John Scanzoni
    • 2
  1. 1.Department of Family SciencesTexas Woman’s UniversityDenton
  2. 2.Department of SociologyUniversity of FloridaGainesville

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