• Why We Should Theorize about Families

      Rombo, Dorothy (2021)
      The purpose of the presentation is to showcase the role of theories in understanding families to challenge lay interpretations of family life experience and add the voice of expert knowledge in a field of study that can easily be detached from such realities. Conversations about families are privatized and individualized. There are examples of contradictory statements that are sometimes applied to express behaviors associated with family and intimate relations. For example, a friend might confide in another regarding her experience in a romantic relationship saying that they are worried about being in a long-distance relationship and quip that hearts grow fonder when people are apart or add that out of sight out of mind may explain why they are worried. Another example is accounted for in mate selection where at times we make statements to the effect that opposites attract or birds of a feather flock together. These are contradictory statements that theorize about family and intimate relationships. Likewise, it is likely that when friends consult one another about family or relational issue the response is often based on individual experience or assumptions made from a very narrow world view. After all we might have just one family life experience for reference. Sometimes including even contradictory statements. This is an attempt to make an argument for differentiating personal experience from expert knowledge to justify theorizing about families to debunk layman and individualized interpretations of family life. Drawing on examples ranging from metaphors and analogies and selected relatable theories of family, the presentation will justify the role of theory in explaining family life.