Guy E. Swanson

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Guy Edwin Swanson (1922 - Feb. 28, 1995) was an American sociologist, and Professor of Sociology at the University of California, Berkeley, known for his work on sociological theory, and on family structure and socialization processes.


  • A psychosocial study of child-rearing practices in a representative sample of parents living in the Detroit area. Old and new practices in child rearing are examined and interpreted in terms of entrepreneurial and bureaucratic families. The data suggest considerable differences in child-rearing techniques. The authors conclude that giving a child freedom to solve particular problems may eventually free him from excessive restraints and pressures. Appendices contain detailed tables, a discussion of statistical techniques, and an appraisal of religion and bureaucracy.
    • Daniel R. Miller, and Guy E. Swanson (1958). The changing American parent: A study in the Detroit area. Oxford, England: Wiley; abstract.
  • The recurrent problem in sociology is to conceive of corporate organizations, and to study it, in ways that do not anthropomorphize it and do not reduce it to the behavior of individuals or of human aggregates.

Quotes about Guy E. Swanson[edit]

  • Ed was known for two major bodies of work. In his early years, he was a leading analyst and critic of sociological theory, evaluating the emerging concepts of structural-functionalism and symbolic interactionism; his ideas had a great deal of impact on subsequent developments in the field. Later, at Berkeley, he became known for his investigations of family structure and socialization processes. Integrating theoretical ideas from his earlier writings, he demonstrated how the interplay between structural properties of families and the dynamic interactions among individual family members help us to understand children's' personality and social development. He was an early contributor to the field of family typology, doing research on child development and the role of fathers and mothers in decision-making. In other research, he related family structure to religious orientation, showing that the way people conceptualize and communicate with God has much to do with the kinds of families in which they were reared. He was also one of the first sociologists to focus on the relationship between family style and occupational role.

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