The theoretical framework of structural functionalism in sociological theory does not consist of a single, unified, and consistent exposition. Different writers make different emphases, use somewhat different terminolog, and include different phenomena under a variety of similar terms. Rather than attempt to deal superficially with a wide variety of theorists writing out of this perspective, we will focus primarily on the central concepts in the work of perhaps the most eminent proponent of this approach in current sociological work - Talcott Parsons - and, in turn, discuss the relevance of this framework for social work education and practice.

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