Soc 421- 2 - Soc 421 October 1 2015 Readings...

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Soc 421 October 1, 2015 Readings: 1.) George C. Homans.  1958. “Social Behavior as Exchange.” American Journal of Sociology 63(6): 598-606.  2.) Peter Blau.  1964. Exchange and Power in Social Life. New York: John Wiley and Sons. Pp. 19-31, 91-95. Exchange Theory Summary Society= exchanges (individuals/groups) - Classical theorist? (Sociation – Simmel) Exchanges social stability or discord Exchanges are based on evaluation of options “social behavior as an exchange of activity, tangible or intangible, and more or less rewarding or costly, between at least two persons” (110, Homans) Roots in: - Behaviorism Homans, “Social Behavior as Exchange” Social behavior can be explained through behavioral psychology - “…with men as with pigeons…” (101) Summary – pg 110 - Social behavior is an exchange of goods - Exchanges work towards equilibrium & balance - Behavior changes less when difference between what you get and what you give is least (profit) Homans’ Propositions How and Why we do what we do… Success - Successful actions, become repeated actions. Stimulus - Will use what is successful to us Past rewarding behavior guides you in the present - Generalization of behavior - Discrimination of behavior Value - “The more valuable to a person is the result of his action, the more likely he is to perform that action”
- Rewards & punishments guide present behavior - Punishments are ineffective ways of eliciting behavior change! - Negative behavior can be eliminated by not rewarding it… Deprivation-Satiation - “The more often in the recent past a person has received a particular reward, the lessvaluable any further unit of that reward becomes to him” Diminishing returns - Balance costs of forgoing alternative actions with profits received over costs - You want lots of profits for little costs Agression- Apporval - When a person’s actions does not receive the reward expected…..leads to aggressive behavior and that aggressiveness is more rewarding. Rationality - “ In choosing between alternative actions, a person will choose that one for which, as perceived by him at the time, the value, V, of the result, multiplies by the probability, p, of getting the result, is greater” - You are a “utility maximizer”- You will choose the action where p(V) is the greatest - You calculate p and V (and their interaction) for every action you undertake! Blau, “Exchange and Power in Social Life” Moves exchange theory away from explaining just individual behavior - Focus on understanding macro outcomes in society Micro-Macro link to explain “complex social systems” Blau’s Exchange Theory Exchanges are sui generis - Think back to Durkheim Social Interaction is not the sum of individual psychological states Patterns of social exchange institutions - Institutions are more than just the component individuals - Simmel- dyad vs. the triad… Blau, Exchange & Power Only concerned with exchange that is based on rewards… -

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