Neo-Functionalist Synthesis of Theories in Family Sociology

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Work constructs a Neo-functionalist theoretical framework that is built on Parsionian sociological theory with updated reflections through Neo-functionalism with a reliance on the sociological theorist, Jeffrey Alexander. The author outlines how theory is used, presents Parsons' theory of the family, critiques it, and with Neo-functionalist insights, creates the theoretical framework. Thereafter, using Boss et. al's and White and Klein's overviews of family theory, the author constructs four sets of integration that synthesizes exchange, symbolic interactionist, family development, systems, ecological, conflict, feminist, attachment, and the ecology of child development theoretical frameworks. He subsequently includes insights from family psychology in the synthesis and then integrates all into the Neo-functionalist theoretical framework. The text is concluded with an analysis of four data sets (two on child outcomes and two on adult outcomes) to test the framework. Results show that there is substantial evidence for the theoretical framework.


"Dr. Swenson's work will make an important contribution to the literature. It is a joy to read because it flows from absolute meticulous organization. For this type of work, which is often tough to burrow one's way through, the author has found that balance of clarity and obvious credibility that saves the reader from what might be an arduous task ... Dr. Swenson's coverage of Parson's prolific body of work is one of the most thorough I have seen." - Dr. Nancy Kingsbury, Ball State University

"The value of this work is in synthesizing the theoretical sociological literature on families. It does a remarkable job of incorporating much literature on family sociology, bringing this literature into line with a neo-functionalist framework. In effect, Dr. Swenson undertakes that task that Talcott Parsons had himself undertaken, of providing a synthetic statement ... This work does a good job of achieving [the] goal of ... establish[ing] a multidimensional synthesis of sociological theories on families." - Professor Roderic Beaujot, University of Western Ontario

Table of Contents

1. General Theory, Definitions of the Family and Family Theories
2. Parsonian contributions to Family Theory
3. Parsonian Interpretations and Critiques
4. Neo-functionalist Reflections and the Construction of a Neo-Functionalist Theoretical Framework of the Family
5. Set One Integration: The Exchange, Symbolic Interactional, Family Development, Systems and the Ecological Framework
6. Set Two Integration: Conflict and Feminist Theoretical Frameworks
7. Set Three Integration: Attachment Theory and Research and thje Ecology of Child Development
8. Set Four Integration: Family Psychology
9. An Integration of The Theoretical Frameworks and the Neo-Functionalist Theoretical Framework of the Family
10. The Link Between Theory and the Empirical World
11. Conclusions

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